Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo logo 2015

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About Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo UK is a branch of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK, just as Alfa Romeo Automobiles SpA is a brand belonging to the global Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group.

Founded in Milan in 1910 as ALFA (Anonima Lombardia Fabbrica Automobili, or Lombardy car manufacturing company), Alfa Romeo has become one of the most famous and evocative car companies in the world.

In 1915, ALFA was bought by Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the car-building operation into a military supplier to the Italian armed forces. After the war, the company was renamed Alfa Romeo and resumed car production, but by 1921 the bank financing Romeo’s various investments had gone broke and Alfa Romeo came under state control – an ownership that remained in place for nearly 65 years.

Alfa Romeo’s most famous employee was a young Modenese racing driver turned team manager called Enzo Ferrari, who ran the company’s racing department in the 1920s. When Alfa decided to shut down its factory motorsport division, most of the plant and equipment was turned over to young Ferrari, who also retained most of the drivers and staff. Thus, Scuderia Ferrari was created in 1929 as a semi-works Alfa racing team. Ferrari and Alfa Romeo fell out in the late 1930s over Alfa’s motorsport plans, and Ferrari disappeared with a plan to run his own car company and racing team

Prior to the Second World War, Alfa Romeo built some of the most expensive and luxurious cars in the world. After the war, however, there was not a great market for these vehicles so Alfa switched to smaller, lower-cost mass-produced vehicles.

The 1950s and 1960s are considered Alfa’s golden period, with an almost never-ending run of successful road and racing cars. Through the 1970s, financial struggles returned and the company was eventually sold to Fiat in 1986.

Under Fiat ownership, Alfa has struggled to regain its former glories, with sporadic highs outweighed by many lows. In late 2016, however, the company seems to be taking significant steps in a positive direction, with the new Giulia saloon receiving critical acclaim and the upcoming Stelvio SUV likely to lead to stronger sales results. More new models are claimed to be in the pipeline, so hopefully the company will return to better times soon.

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