Bad Month For Alfa/Mazda and Alpine/Caterham Fantasy Car Lovers

They say that the sea is only salty because of the tears cried by misunderstood sharks that just want to be hugged. They can add my tears to that tally tonight.

Earlier this month came the news that a car I was legitimately dreaming of owning one day – a new Alfa Romeo Spider developed in conjunction with a new Mazda MX-5 – was going to be hijacked by either Fiat or Abarth instead.

The co-developed car was going to be built by Mazda in Japan but in what appears to be a decision that killed the deal (as far as Alfa are concerned), Sergio Marchionne declared that an Alfa Romeo could only be built in Italy.

I can see his point and I appreciate his desire to preserve the Italian heart of Alfa Romeo. Then again, being built in Italy isn’t a guarantee for success. Alfa’s last Japanese collaboration was built in Italy and that didn’t go very well. Design and engineering are the key and the Alfa/Mazda effort could have been a cracker. I’m sure the Fiat/Abarth version will be.

What replaces this car as a potential Spider in a future Alfa range? Nobody knows at this point. I guess there’s scope with Sergio’s comments for it to be built in Japan as a Mazda/Fiat and in Italy as an Alfa. It wouldn’t make as much economic sense, but it could be done.

Hot on the heels from the sad news with Alfa is a story that the recent alliance between Alpine and Caterham is dissolving amidst reportedly heated disagreements over the direction and development of the vehicle.

From Autocar:

….reports of tensions between the two partners have been rife since it was confirmed the project would be delayed earlier this year, after Renault instigated a minor redesign of its Alpine following customer clinics on the car’s looks.

The Brits and French arguing over something?

Who’d have thought?

I really hope they can work something out. It’d be great to see the Alpine name on the road once again and with the shared pedigree of it’s joint developers, I’m sure the car would be awesome.

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6 Comments

  1. Looking on the bright side, the fact that it’s a Fiat instead of an Alfa means that I will fit in it, right? I don’t comfortably fit in an MX-5 or an Alfa Spider, but I’m OK in a Fiat 124 Spider.
    A friend used to buy-fix-sell those three cars, plus Honda S2000s. As much as I liked the looks of the Alfa, and the twin cam, I just couldn’t drive it far.

    1. Let’s see. They’ve got 3 models now: Mito, Giulietta, 4c. The 4c is new, the Mito will probably be renewed soon with the 500. I guess the Giulietta could be refreshed based on platform updates done for the Dart/Viaggio and Chrysler 200.
      They’ve promised a Giulia for next year. That leave 3 new cars.

      I wonder if they will produce a “new Matta” based on the Renegade/500x platform. That would have some potential.

      Other than that, they will need a bigger crossover and maybe an Alfa-branded Ghibli.

  2. Didn’t know about the Alpine rework. Would like to know more on that one. But why did they take it to the customer for ‘apro’ sessions? What did they think would happen?
    The design of that car is Gallic to the nth degree. No one else would go where they have gone. Now it will get diluted and sanitised. aargh….

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