Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of cars. Founded as A.L.F.A. on June 24, 1910, in Milan,the company has been involved in car racing since 1911, and has a reputation for building expensive sports cars.The company was owned by Italian state holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale between 1932 and 1986, when it became a part of the Fiat Group, and since February 2007 a part of Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.The company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. Late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and a new company was founded named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili English: Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company), initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Giuseppe Merosi. A.L.F.A. ventured into motor racing, with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Florio with two 24 HP models. In August 1915 the company came under the direction of Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the factory to produce military hardware for the Italian and Allied war efforts. In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP becoming the first car to be badged as such.In 1928 Nicola Romeo left, with Alfa going broke after defence contracts ended, and at the end of 1932 Alfa Romeo was rescued by Benito Mussolini's government, which then had effective control. The Alfa factory struggled to return to profitability after the Second World War, and turned to mass-producing small vehicles rather than hand-building luxury models. The company, in 1954, developed the classic Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which would remain in production until 1995. During the 1960s and 1970s Alfa Romeo produced a number of sporty cars, though the Italian government parent company, Finmeccanica, struggled to make a profit so sold the marque to the Fiat Group in 1986.Alfa Romeo has competed successfully in many different categories of motorsport, including Grand Prix motor racing, Formula One, sportscar racing, touring car racing and rallies. They have competed both as a constructor and an engine supplier, via works entries (usually under the name Alfa Corse or Autodelta) and private entries. The first racing car was made in 1913, three years after the foundation of the company, and Alfa Romeo won the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. The company gained a good name in motorsport, which gave a sporty image to the whole marque. Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in 1929 as an Alfa Romeo racing team, before becoming independent in 1939.The company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. One of them, Cavaliere Ugo Stella, an aristocrat from Milan, became chairman of the SAID in 1909. The firm's initial location was in Naples, but even before the construction of the planned factory had started, Darracq decided late in 1906 that Milan would be a more suitable location and accordingly a tract of land was acquired in the Milan suburb of Portello, where a new factory of 6,700 square metres (8,000 sq yd) was erected. Late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and Stella, with the other Italian co-investors, founded a new company named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili), initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Giuseppe Merosi, hired in 1909 for designing new cars more suitable to the Italian market. Merosi would go on to design a series of new A.L.F.A. cars, with more powerful engines (40-60 HP). A.L.F.A. ventured into motor racing, with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Florio with two 24 HP models. In 1914, an advanced Grand Prix car was designed and built, the GP1914 which featured a four cylinder, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and twin ignition.However, the onset of the First World War halted automobile production at A.L.F.A. for three years.
In August 1915 the company came under the direction of Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the factory to produce military hardware for the Italian and Allied war efforts. Munitions, aircraft engines and other components, compressors and generators based on the company's existing car engines were produced in a vastly enlarged factory during the war. When the war was over, Romeo invested his war profits in acquiring locomotive and railways carriage plants in Saronno (Costruzioni Meccaniche di Saronno), Rome (Officine Meccaniche di Roma) and Naples (Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali), which were added to his A.L.F.A. ownership.Car production had not been considered at first, but resumed in 1919 since parts for the completion of 105 cars were still lying at the A.L.F.A. factory since 1915.In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP becoming the first car to be badged as such.Their first success came in 1920 when Giuseppe Campari won at Mugello and continued with second place in the Targa Florio driven by Enzo Ferrari. Giuseppe Merosi continued as head designer, and the company continued to produce solid road cars as well as successful race cars (including the 40-60 HP and the RL Targa Florio).In 1923 Vittorio Jano was lured away from Fiat, partly thanks to the persuasion of a young Alfa racing driver named Enzo Ferrari, to replace Merosi as chief designer at Alfa Romeo. The first Alfa Romeo under Jano was the P2 Grand Prix car, which won Alfa Romeo the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. For Alfa road cars Jano developed a series of small-to-medium-displacement 4, 6, and 8 cylinder inline power plants based on the P2 unit that established the classic architecture of Alfa engines, with light alloy construction, hemispherical combustion chambers, centrally-located plugs, two rows of overhead valves per cylinder bank and dual overhead cams. Jano's designs proved to be both reliable and powerful.Enzo Ferrari proved to be a better team manager than driver, and when the factory team was privatised, it then became Scuderia Ferrari. When Ferrari left Alfa Romeo, he went on to build his own cars. Tazio Nuvolari often drove for Alfa, winning many races prior to the Second World War.The Alfa factory (converted during wartime to the production of Macchi C.202 Folgore engines) was bombed during the Second World War, and struggled to return to profitability after the war. The luxury vehicles were out. Smaller mass-produced vehicles began to be produced in Alfa's factories beginning with the 1954 model year, with the introduction of the Giulietta series of berline (saloons/sedans), coupes and open two-seaters. All three varieties shared what would become the classic Alfa Romeo overhead Twin Cam four cylinder engine, initially in 1300 cc form. This engine would eventually be enlarged to 2 litres (2000 cc) and would remain in production until 1995.Alfa Romeo has been suffering from falling sales. Some analysts concluded that the automaker suffered large operating losses in the mid-2000s - estimated to be about 15 percent to 20 percent of the Alfa’s annual revenues—or about 300 million to 500 million euros a year. For the year of 2010, it sold a total of about 112,000 units which was significantly lower than Fiat CEO Marchionne's global sales target of 300,000. Alfa want to achieve 170,000 sales in 2011, including 100,000 Giulietta and 60,000 MiTo, and 500,000 by 2014 including 85,000 from N. American market.Alfa Romeo has introduced some technological innovations over the years, the company has also been often among first users of new technologies. Alfa Romeo's trademark double overhead cam engine was used in the first time in 1914 Grand Prix car,the first road car with such engine the 6C 1500 Sport appeared in the 1928.Alfa Romeo tested one of the very first electric injection systems (Caproni-Fuscaldo) in Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 with "Ala spessa" body in 1940 Mille Miglia. The engine had six electrically operated injectors and were fed by a semi-high pressure circulating fuel pump system.Mechanical Variable Valve Timing was introduced in Alfa Romeo Spider sold in U.S. markets in 1980.Electronic Variable Valve Timing was introduced in (Alfetta).The 105 series Giulia was a quite advanced car using such technologies as: All-wheel disc brakes,plastic radiator header tank it had also the lowest Drag Coefficient (Cd) in class The same trend continued with Alfetta 2000 and GTV, those had such things as 50:50 weight distribution,standard fit alloy wheels and transaxle.
Newer innovations includes complete CAD design process used in Alfa Romeo 164 design process,robotised/paddle control transmission Selespeed used in 156,the 156 was also world's first passenger car to use Common rail diesel engine.The Multiair -an electro-hydraulic variable valve actuation technology used in MiTo was introduced in 2009.Alfa's badge incorporates emblems from fifth century Italy.It was designed in 1910 by an Italian draughtsman Romano Cattaneo who used two heraldic devices traditionally associated with Milan: on the right is the Biscione, the emblem of the House of Visconti, rulers of Milan in the 14th century; on the left is a red cross on a white field, the emblem of Milan, which Cattaneo had seen on the door of the Castello Sforzesco.In 1918, after the company was purchased by Nicola Romeo, the badge was redesigned with the help of Giuseppe Merosi. A dark blue metallic ring was added, containing the inscription "ALFA — ROMEO" and "MILANO" separated by two Savoy dynasty knots to honour the Kingdom of Italy. After the victory of the P2 in the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925, Alfa added a laurel wreath around the badge.In 1946, after the abolition of the monarchy, the Savoy knots were replaced with two curvy lines. The name "MILANO", the hyphen, and the lines were eliminated when Alfa Romeo opened its factory at Pomigliano d'Arco, Naples in the early 1970s.