The Alfa Romeo 147 has given everyone a step-by-step guide to achieving great international success in just a few short months. First came the critical acclaim: the 'Car of the Year 2001' title, the 'Volante d'Oro' awarded by the German magazine 'Bild am Sonntag' and the 'TrophÃ©e du design 2000' award from the French 'Automobile Magazine'. Then came the plaudits from readers: the prestigious 'Auto Europe 1' organised by Auto Bild on behalf of 13 motoring magazines (the Alfa Romeo 147 received most votes in no fewer than eight countries) and 'My favourite car 2001', which reflects the opinions of readers who buy the monthly magazine 'Quattroruote'.
Then came the most welcome sign of appreciation of all: from the market. In all, 55,000 orders were collected between the end of October 2000 and February this year. This gratifying result has been so unexpected that we have even had to schedule a production increase at the factory. The numbers have been upped from 100,000 to 120,000 units per year and plans are afoot to boost this figure to 140,000.
The most important thing, though, is that the Alfa Romeo 147 has done what it set out to do, i.e. make a qualitative leap upward from the previous model and establish itself firmly at the upper part of the segment where the best prestige compact sports cars are now clustered.
The figures bear this out. The Alfa Romeo 147 occupies a price band where prices are higher than those commanded by the Alfa Romeo 145. This is because discerning Alfa customers wanted a more highly specified car. And also because these self-same customers go for the most comprehensive versions and specifications in the range: the 120 bhp 1.6 has been the highest-selling Alfa Romeo 147 in Europe so far.
The Alfa Romeo 147 owes its success to the fact that it appeals to women, it appeals to the young and it also appeals to motorists who until recently drove competitors' cars. Suffice it to say that in Italy, for example, 65% of traded-in cars were not Alfa Romeos and 30% were not even Fiat Auto models.
All in all, the 147 has attracted new customers to Alfa Romeo and has made a significant contribution to overall brand results: our European market share has risen by 23% during the first two months of the year.
The range is now complemented by:
5-door version that offers greater versatility and ease of access while maintaining all the personality and style of the 3-door;
The Alfa Romeo 147 range has not merely been extended to offer three new versions, it is also offering its customers another important product feature: the CONNECT system.
This device is destined to change the way we experience the car. More than that, to transform our whole concept of mobility. Because products and services were two separate worlds before CONNECT came along but now, for the first time, they are one and the same.
All this means that car occupants will benefit from information, communication, assistance and safety as a result of a system that is now making its first appearance on the Alfa Romeo 147 but will soon be adopted on all new Fiat, Alfa and Lancia models. This tool is destined to make Fiat Auto the absolute leader in the mobility services field.