I mentioned a few weeks ago that one of Chrysler/Fiat’s next moves would be the reintroduction of the Alfa Romeo brand to the North American market.
It hasn’t done a great job of hiding its test mules on our shores and abroad, which may explain the decision to release official photos of the production version before its scheduled reveal at next month’s Geneva auto show.
The sensual-looking coupe is rear-wheel drive and powered by a mid-mounted 1750 cc, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine mated to a twin-clutch automatic transmission.
Alfa is staying quiet about performance specs, but the car is expected to be plenty quick.
YORKDALE CHARGES UP
One of the barriers to buying an electric vehicle is the lack of charging stations in public parking lots, which adds to range anxiety in a big city like Toronto.
As part of its recent $220-million expansion, Yorkdale Shopping Centre installed charging stations for EVs — partly predicated by the fact that Canada’s only Tesla dealership is located in the mall. In fact, Tesla Yorkdale is the brand’s highest-traffic dealership in the world.
“Electric vehicles are no longer a novelty, they’re becoming a way of life,” says Yorkdale general manager Anthony Casalanguida. “We want all electric-vehicle drivers to be able to plug and charge the vehicles at their convenience and shop or dine at their leisure.”
EV drivers will have to pay for their parking spot while charging, but the electricity will be free.
Other GTA shopping malls have not been so quick to acknowledge the trend, although Vaughan Mills is considering EV charging stations as part of its upcoming expansion.
TEST CHARGE FOR TIM HORTONS
Tim Hortons has announced a pilot project to see if offering an EV charging station for customers is viable.
The company has partnered with the Town of Oakville and Oakville Hydro to install a charging spot at its 228 Wyecroft Rd. location in Oakville.
The charging station is free to use.
HONDA HOLDS ITS VALUE BEST
For owners who trade vehicles every few years, residual value is a key element in deciding which car to purchase.
To coincide with the opening of the Toronto auto show, ALG has announced the winners of its annual Canadian Residual Value Awards. The automotive analyst forecasts which vehicles will retain the highest percentage of their original selling price over a four-year period, for mainstream brands, and three years for luxury brands.
The big winners this year are Honda and Acura, which took top spot for mainstream and luxury brands respectively. Subaru and Mazda followed Honda in the mainstream segment, while Infiniti and Lexus were the runners-up in the luxury segment.
Although Cadillac ranked eighth out of 10 premium brands, its ATS model scored as the top-value premium midsize car.
“The ATS is an indicator that the Cadillac brand is headed in the right direction,” says ALG’s regional director for Canada.
CAMPAGNA PARTNERS WITH BMW
Canadian niche manufacturer Campagna Motors is respected globally for its three-wheeled vehicles. Most notable is the T-Rex, which is a favourite of rappers and frequently appears in music videos.
Campagna has announced a partnership with German manufacturer BMW, which will see Campagna models powered by BMW engines but also gives the company access to BMW’s research and development.
This is not the first time Campagna has partnered with another manufacturer. Its upscale V13R roadster is powered by a Harley Davidson engine
LEXUS NAMED MOST DEPENDABLE
J.D. Power’s dependability study measures the number of problems each brand has over a three-year period for every 100 vehicles sold. That means the samples for the latest study are 2010 models.
Reviewing new cars is tough these days because there is no such thing as a bad car. That sentiment is born out by the study results, which are the best ever. The industry average is 126 problems per 100 vehicles, which is a 5-per-cent improvement over last year.
Lexus is at the top of the chart for the second year in a row, with just 71 problems per 100 vehicles. Porsche took second spot with 94. Lincoln and Toyota tied for third place with 112.
At the bottom of the list are Mitsubishi (178), Dodge (190) and Land Rover (220).