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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to bring to your attention some recent comments said by Fiat president Sergio Marchionne as reported by - Wheels.ca – Alfa Romeo needs a ‘*** engine,’ says Fiat CEO Marchionne

Fiat’s new generation of Alfa Romeo high-performance sedans will have a feature that is uniquely described by its CEO – a “*** engine.”
That is the characterization of the upcoming cars by the outspoken Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat-Chrysler boss who has dual Italian-Canadian citizenship. Marchionne spoke at the Detroit auto show on Monday.
The perennially delayed U.S. relaunch of the hotly awaited iconic racing brand has raised eyebrows and put Marchionne’s credibility on the line to execute it perfectly.
He will not start selling Alfas in the United States until the car is perfect, he said on Monday. Fiat has said some of the car’s parts will be made in United States and other parts in Italy but has not specified what will be made where.
“I cannot come up with a schlock product, I just won’t,” Marchionne told a room of journalists at the car show.“I won’t put an American engine into that car. With all due respect to my American friends, it needs to be a *** engine.”
“There are some things that are well-done in Italy.”
After reporters registered evident surprise at his use of an ethnic slur, Marchionne turned to one of them and asked, “Why are you surprised?”
Marchionne has a penchant for using colourful language that has occasionally landed him in hot water.
In February 4, 2011, he caused a minor uproar by saying, “I want to repay the shyster loans,” referring to the high-interest rates on money lent to the company in 2009 by U.S. taxpayers as part of the Chrysler’s bankruptcy. The next day, he apologized for that remark.
Chrysler has fully repaid the U.S. Treasury for the loans.

Now as an Italian American and an Alfitsi I am as excited as anyone about Alfa Romeo coming back to the USA but I think that our buddy Sergio needs an education on exactly what he said and the irony in what it means. As you probably know, the term *** came from when Italians landed in the US and lost their paperwork, the term *** (With Out Papers) was written across their forms. This implied that their past and history was lost and they were starting new in the US sometimes even with new names. It seems that Mr Marchionne has the best intentions by, “not start selling Alfas in the United States until the car is perfect” and further stating, “There are some things that are well-done in Italy” but throws away all of what makes this brand great – THE HISTORY after all Ferrari got its start with this company. I don’t want a car ***, I want a car that showcases the incredible history and embraces the legends who made it great.

I invite comments about this.
 

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Agreed. I get so tired of people trying to find things to be up in arms about.

If there's outrage to be had about anything it should be that it's taking so long for Alfa to return to the US market.
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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"He will not start selling Alfas in the United States until the car is perfect"

Well, scratch Alfas being here anytime soon then, because we all know....
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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It's a joke, son, just a joke. Don't take these things seriously. We've been waiting since 95, so we are used to kidding around about the return every two years from the last time. I've been driving nothing but Alfas since 66, so I take all these things with a huge grain of salt. Since when is it is not allowed to crack a joke. I swear, people are getting too serious about things these days. Peace.

It will happen when it happens, and I'm sure it will be good. The Giulietta I drove in Italy was not bad at all, even if it was a diesel.
 

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The first few times it was funny. The next few dozen, it was understandably cynical. For the last few hundred, it has been increasingly annoying. As far as the actual return of Alfa to the US, we are finally seeing actual measured activity. Do you think that possibly you are giving them reasons NOT to return with continued comments of this type?

Fred Allen, by the way was always funny, as was Senator Claghorn. "When I'm in New York City, I won't go to see the Yankees playing unless a southpaw is pitching."

Mark
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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"Do you think that possibly you are giving them reasons NOT to return with continued comments of this type?"

Oh, heavens no. They don't care a whit about what I/we say, as we are worlds apart, and as old time Alfa owners/fans, we are not part of their projected market in the US. What I or others say/joke, have joked about for many years, will have zero bearing on what Fiat does about importing Alfas. Their decisions rest upon the financial situations and car markets in Europe and Italy, as well as of that in the US, let alone that of Fiat itself.

They have proven through the decades that we (long time Alfa fans in the US) mean almost nothing to them. I believe that older Alfas themselves mean little to them as a corporation, witness the closing of their magnificent museum full of older/historic Alfas. They wanted to sell off the cars, as a disposable asset, to private collectors, to be lost from sight for the general public.

So, no, I don't think it makes one whit of difference. I understand your frustration, and I sympathize, but many of us have been here a long time ago. I just drive the cars I have now, appreciate what they are, do my best to keep them running, and I don't really think too much about whether or not they will really return with cars most of us could afford. Life is too short for that now.

Doesn't mean I wouldn't get enthused, though, about a return. I'd stand up and say thank you to them. Don't get me wrong, but our specific and limited opinions/jokes won't make the difference. Not even close.
 

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My basic point is that I (and others) are very tired of hearing this same old song from you -even a great piece of music gets tiresome after 20 years of constant reruns. You have a valid point in saying that the current cars do not interest you even if they come to this continent, but many of us would be happy to try them out and give the company a chance. I have loved all of my Alfas over the years, from the Alfetta sedan thru my 164LS. Each has it special meaning to me, but, like children, have some aspects that were not quite lovable. Spiders were pretty special when they first came out, but even before Fiat took over, they never had sufficient power under the hood and many components were lest than sturdy. Alfas, in my opinion, have had one thing throughout the years - soul. Even the later ones (that came to the US) were beautiful and full of heart. When you park a Milano and get extremely positive comments from a 20 year old woman, you know that the car was special. Was it the best descendant of the Alfetta, no. But it was fun to drive and provided the power that its parent lacked. Just because the electronics were fairlly unreliable, does not mean that it was not an Alfa (perhaps it meant that it was an Alfa). Each phase of the Alfa lineage has had its own flavor and I think that Marchione and company are trying to return it to a state where it will again be seen that way and also will sell well not just because of heritage ad beauty, but because of engineering and reliability (and because it is fun to drive).

Mark
 

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I'm afraid you did take me wrong. You do indeed sing the praises of the Alfas we know and still drive. Been there, done that, for many years. Why do you think I've driven NOTHING but Alfas since '66. They are in my blood, I'm afraid.

What I was saying was that in today's market worldwide, a car company needs a broad customer base, one that we as true enthusiasts/fans do not make. The company recognizes that, and they know for sure that in order to survive (here), they need a big bunch of sales to the ordinary person, not the few enthusiasts who, nevertheless, would do their share of purchases, but just not that many relatively speaking. You are correct that the cars must have that certain spark of historical achievements bred into them, though. I think it is a tightrope to walk, trying to emulate BMW, say, with their wide range of functional but attractive/sporty sedans. We have waited a long time to see if Fiat can pull it off.

I'm happy that the Fiat 500 is selling moderately well at least. A functional car, albeit small, but then again, quite suitable for city driving at least. The reason they have so many different versions of it for sale here is to try to broaden the customer base beyond your basic and rather small Fiat fan. It will take more than they been selling to ensure their long term existence here. They need a broadbased line of functional Alfas and Fiats to keep them here, not just the very few and expensive clique cars, or just the bottom line 500's.

The BMW Mini stays because, quite frankly, it is supported by the BMW name, a popular marque for a broad base of people here. People think they are buying into a broadbased popular brand, which they are. Fiat just doesn't have that here.


"the current cars do not interest you even if they come to this continent"

Oh, I didn't say that at all. I said that I did like the Giulietta for sure, but the Alfas which ARE coming in, so far, are not something many of would/could buy. Why? Because they are too expensive for most, are quite limited in functionality, and finally, there are just not very many of them. Every Alfa I've bought through the years has been functional for daily driving while being a pretty darn sporty car to drive and have fun with. The products we/most would buy are only in the drawing stages thus far, and we don't know when they will arrive, if they do.

Please, I know where you are coming from, and I absolutely welcome your enthusiasm. I've been there as well. I hope we all end up satisfied, indeed happy, in the near future as to what Fiat decides to bring in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Have you seen a Chry-Jeep lately

My point first of all is that the term *** is an ethnic slur and if an equivalent slur was used to describe any other ethnic group, there would be certain reverends’ demanding money and his head on a stick.

Second, the term implies that the car will not have the soul of an Alfa. After all, why do we love these cars, it’s not for the reliability or to get from point A to B (I have a Ford for that); it’s for the song and driving experience. Whenever someone asks me about driving an Alfa, the closest thing that I can find to describe it is that it is like dancing with a really good partner. I have yet to find any other auto brand that makes me feel like I do when driving an Alfa. The funny thing is the Duetto I used to drive, my Alfetta GT and my friends GTV6 and rusted out 1973 Berlina all made you feel that way.

As for the *** engine, is this going to be like the BMW Eta engine of past (is *** the New Eta?) with a 4K red line? Or is it going to be similar to a Honda VTEC engine which can reach the upper RPM limits like 1300cc 750 used to. As I said in my original post, I think Mr. Marchionne intended that Alfa should have the latter engine I described but found a very poor way of getting his point across.

As for being “overly sensitive” and “getting over it”, I think that this was a very unprofessional statement and statements like that is not the way to make friends and influence people. I think that I have heard them all - my first Alfa had Dunlop tires, why? Because when it went down the road they went Da *** Da ***. Why don’t you ask Italians directions, because **** dis way and **** dat way. Get a clue; even a *** salad is now called an Italian salad. I have grown a thick skin about jokes like that but to hear this from the president of a major automotive manufacturer who let’s face it needs to impress more potential clients than the small base of people in the US on this forum who will probably buy a new Alfa even if the salesman slaps them in the face is not the way to do business.

As for getting Alfa in the US no matter what – may I suggest you contact IAP to order an emblem and glue it to the front of your Toyota. After all, It seemed to make the guy who I sold a BMW grill and badges for his Nissan Sentra happy.
 

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Cort,

The good lord gave us paragraphs for a reason.

So much easier to plow through your thoughtful and welcome comments, even ones not all agree with :).

Best wishes
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry about the paragraphs

Sorry about the paragraphs but I wrote this on a Word document and when you transfer it over, apparently the formatting doesn't come with the text. I sent the original post out because I am just as excited as everyone else about Alfa returning but if half of the potential buying public is offended (go to any Italian - American club and look at the new Fiats in the parking lot) they won't stay long.
 

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None of the buying public knows or cares what comes out of M's mouth.

None of the Alfisti on this board have any control over what comes out of M's mouth.

We just sit and wait for the next delay to be announced, and remain grateful that he is still mentioning the marque. Worry when he quits talking about Alfa.
 

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My point first of all is that the term *** is an ethnic slur and if an equivalent slur was used to describe any other ethnic group, there would be certain reverends’ demanding money and his head on a stick.
Italians can handle it and have for centuries :)
Second, the term implies that the car will not have the soul of an Alfa.
You have completely missunderstood his comments.

In this case a *** engine means an Italian engine, it does NOT mean an American engine.

Just like Australians call the English: POMs, when it stands for Prizoners of Mother England, which actually means the original English settlers and thus Australians. So we Australians are the POMs, not the English :).

I fully support Marchionne, an Alfa Romeo without an Italian engine is NOT an Alfa Romeo. The 159 v6 engine is a GM engine and thus not going to cut the mustard IMO.
Pete
 

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Political Correctness. The concept that you can pick up a turd by the clean end.

I miss the days when we all spoke freely, and were expected to have a sense of humor. Some days I was the butt of the joke. Some days it was another guy's turn.
 

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Back in the day when I lived in New York - LonGiland actually - one could purchase from the subway station kiosk a little joke pamphlet entitled 'Race Riots'. It savaged them (we) all; none were spared. Funny, too!
 

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My experience that folk in SE Louisiana have a wee bit more humor that that. Damned yankee comes to mind. LOL!! Methinks if Alfa makes it back, it'll be greeted by a new gen Alfa owner. Those of us who enjoy the older are enthusiasts. The new, just different. ciao, chris
 
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