The low in the nissan garb

The low point in Nissan garb – Was the Arna the worst Alfa ever??

The low in the nissan garb

Source: Alfa Romeo

Legendary Italian design and robust technology from Japan – what a good joint venture car this could have been! But one tried it exactly the other way round. Delivered with the Alfa Romeo Arna a Nissan with Alfasud technology.

Those who like to compare apples with pears in their spare time may have spent one or two red wine-soaked evenings looking for parallels in Italian and Japanese automobile construction in the 1980s. Admittedly without greater success, since both countries initially have a Different basic understanding of the automobile possessed:

On the one hand, there is Alfa Romeo, whose blood-red cars with their passion and exuberant design language so captivated Alfisti all over the world that the exhaust-sirened Odyssey drivers loose screws and warping bodies were cordially indifferent. Loosely based on Goethe (Italy fan) "Beauty tames all anger" – especially in the highly romantic combination with the (rust-related) transience.

The low in the nissan garb

In Japan, on the other hand, exactly the opposite was built at that time: indestructible endurance runners in a conventional uniform garb. The consumer had the choice between Kasten-Corolla, Kasten-Laurel, or Kasten-Justy.

The low in the nissan garb

The time of playful muscle car design was definitely over in the Far East in the mid-80s – instead, the design dictates of the Rubik's cube prevailed, which from then on for decades would be used for all Japanese products (VCRs, Walkmans, alarm clocks) to the right angle force. For this, engines, transmissions and processing of the vehicles were above average.

Cooperation between Nissan and Alfa Romeo

Meanwhile, Alfa's production was suffering more than ever: Although the new Alfasud not badly at first, but suffered from massive sloppiness in assembly, so that many vehicles fell apart like badly sandwiched tramezzini. In addition, the new plant in southern Italy preferred to go on strike rather than build, so that the bodyshells hung around outside for months. In the end, sales collapsed completely and money for new developments was scarce due to the low capacity utilization of the assembly lines (red figures since 1973). A solution had to be found – and pronto.

The low in the nissan garb

The Japanese, on the other hand, were plagued by completely different problems: some European countries, and Italy in particular, had imposed high tariffs on the import of foreign vehicles, which reduced sales. However, the rule could be circumvented if part of the vehicle was manufactured in Italy. This is how the "joint venture"A lfa R omeo N issan A utoveicoli" was founded – supposedly a win-win situation. But the result was a vehicle whose name is like lead on the tongue of die-hard Alfisti "Alfa Romeo Arna".

The low in the nissan garb

However, the brand's reputation abroad permanently battered, which no cherry with Alfa genes could change. Perhaps the opposite approach would have been more clever: Alfa design with robust Nissan technology. Maybe you could have imagined it better that way. Pizza with tuna "inside is, after all, socially acceptable, whereas the sushi roll with mushrooms and salami is more likely to cause retching.

The low in the nissan garb

The existing customers felt in any case mildly fooled and for the new customer acquisition the Arna in this form was not suitable all the more – despite lively 63 HP (from 1.2 liters), low fuel consumption and throaty sound. In addition, the long journey from the Far East to Pratola Serra, where the components were finally assembled, did not really make production worthwhile.

The low in the nissan garb

The end of the Alfa Romeo ARNA

When after three years only about 80.000 copies were sold to the man, the state sold the company to Fiat. Under new management, the ARNA was cancelled without replacement, whereas the second successor of the Alfasud, the Alfa Romeo 33, was allowed to exist until 1994. Today, the Arna is regarded as the low point of the Italian automotive industry. Actually a pity, because the car was not so bad as his reputation then, nevertheless, actually. But once the reputation is ruined…

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