Is an Alfa-loving Romeo going to fall for this Giulietta? It's a tough question. If the new five-door hatchback from one of Italy's most beloved brands was as beautiful to behold as it is pleasing to drive, the answer would be 'Yes. Yes! Yesss!' But, as the photographs surely make plain, the ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA
lacks lust-worthy looks.
Only from front on is the car's provenance obvious. From angles where the shield-shaped Alfa grille isn't visible, the ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA
is, well, unremarkable. It looks like something Subaru's styling studios might have done with the Impreza hatch, on a good day. It's surely not the best thing to come out of Alfa Romeo's corner of Fiat's big Centro Stile (Styling Center) in Turin.
Despite its esthetic handicap, the ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA
may still be the car that spearheads Alfa Romeo's return to the U.S. On 21 April, at an investor meeting, Fiat
will announce its grand global plan for integrating its Italian and American vehicle line-ups and sales operations. While senior executives aren't willing to pre-reveal anything concrete, they are happy to drop hints.
Harald Wester, the German who was appointed Alfa Romeo's chief executive officer in January (he was already CEO of Maserati
and Abarth, and Fiat's chief technical officer), doesn't like the idea of Giuliettas sitting in a showroom beside Sebrings or Avengers. He points out that there are already more than 100 Maserati
dealers in the U.S., each selling an average of 20 to 30 cars a year. "There would be space for 70 to 80 Alfas," Wester suggests. Then he hastily adds: "This is just an idea."
It's a thought that pleases the executive, who believes showroom compatibility will be important to the success of Fiat's U.S. ambitions. "The mix of the brands must make sense," Wester emphasizes.
Even though it's no beauty contest winner, the ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA
does deserve a thorough once-over. It's the first model to be built on Fiat's all-new 'Compact' architecture. This platform will provide the basis for future Chrysler
models manufactured in the U.S., as well as forthcoming Fiat