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The Alfa Romeo Milano Speciale launch edition.

Stellantis Chief Tells Chinese 'Hands Off Our Brands'

Alfa Romeo Milano BEV launch sees Carlos Tavares slam "fake news reports" and pledge commitment to Italy and group brands.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares chooses the launch of Alfa Romeo’s first battery-electric vehicle lifestyle crossover to warn Chinese automakers, "Keep your hands off our brands!"

Summing up the presentation of the Milano compact soft-roader, which launches in both BEV and gas-hybrid powertrain versions, Tavares trumpets the brand’s unique strength that sees it being able to offer an entry-level BEV at around €30,000 ($32,582) while also selling a hypercar in the shape of the Alfa Romeo Stradale 33 costing more than €2 million ($2,172,140).

He tells the global presentation, fittingly filmed in Milan's historic colonnaded Automobile Club Milano venue, that one Chinese automaker had already placed a bid for one of the group’s French brands and had to be rebuffed. Tavares says, “Soon after the launch of Stellantis…a Chinese car company knocked on the door and asked: ‘Would you like to sell me X-brand?’ (a French one) and I said: ‘Of course not!'"

Tavares-stellantis_1.jpgTavares (pictured, left) also blasts growing criticism from some Italian politicians that Stellantis is not committed to the nation's auto industry: “There is fake news going around at the moment that Stellantis will not stay in Italy, that Stellantis will not invest in Italy, that Stellantis will dismantle Fiat. My position is very clear: It is fake news. We are investing more than €5 billion ($5.4 billion) in Italy and we are going to bring 15 new models. We are creating a gigafactory for batteries, we are investing in two new platforms for our sites.”

Directly addressing some Italian politicians who have been making overtures to Chinese automakers, Tavares adds: “Those who are dealing with Chinese carmakers to invite them to come to Italy are on the same path as those who sold Volvo to Geely and MG to another Chinese company (SAIC Motor Corporation). This is not going to happen to Stellantis. This is not going to happen to Alfa Romeo.”

Alfa Romeo Milano Reveal

The automaker says the new Milano model is true to the brand's sporty credentials being 440 lbs. (200 kg) lighter than its sector rivals. The gas-hybrid powertrain of the Milano Speciale launch edition, which goes on sale today (Thursday) in Italy before rolling out to other European markets, will be the Ibrida version available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with automated rear-wheel-drive axle management.

It adopts a 136-hp, 48V hybrid variable-geometry turbo (VGT) powertrain architecture. The 1.2L gasoline Miller-cycle 3-cyl. has VGT and a distribution chain to boost reliability. The electrical component consists of a 48V lithium-ion battery and a 21-kW electric motor built into a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which works together with the inverter and transmission control unit to ensure maximum efficiency.

Milano Ibrida claims an electric-only city travel capability of more than 50% of the time and provides electric assistance outside urban areas of up to 93 mph (150 km/h).

The all-electric Milano Elettrica combines a hybrid synchronous electric motor with a latest-generation 54-kWh battery pack. It’s available in two power versions, the 156-hp or 240-hp Elettrica Veloce. Specifically, in the 156-hp version it claims a range of 255 miles (410 km) in the WLTP cycle, or 367 miles (591 km) in the urban cycle. Fast charging at a 100-kW DC station takes less than 30 minutes to replenish the batteries from 10% to 80%.

The top-of-the-range Milano Speciale edition is available with Ibrida (136 hp) and Elettrica (156 hp) powertrains. It boasts Brera red coachwork, 18-in. alloy wheels and an electrically operated driver’s seat with massage function.

Advanced driver assistance offers Level 2 autonomous driving, connected navigation, 180° rear camera, hands-free electric tailgate and keyless system with proximity access technology as standard. The BEV version is also equipped with an 11-kW three-phase onboard charger.



TAGS: Vehicles
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