Alfa Romeo Arna

Launched at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Arna was a product of a short-lived partnership between Alfa Romeo and Japanese manufacturer Nissan; the car's name was an acronym meaning Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli. The Arna was essentially a twin of the N12 series Nissan Pulsar / Nissan Cherry (also known as the Nissan Cherry Europe in Europe and the Nissan Pulsar Milano in Japan), but featured Alfa Romeo engines carried over from the Alfasud, as well as an Alfa transmission and front suspension.

It did however use an independent rear suspension from Nissan. The body panels of the car were constructed in Japan by Nissan, then shipped to the then-new Alfa factory in Pratola Serra, near Naples, for assembly. Italian-built cars badged as Nissan Cherry Europe can be readily identified by their rear lighting clusters, which match those of the Arna rather than the Japanese-built Cherry.

The Arna was however not an economic success, and production ceased after only four years, most likely because the Arna exhibited the worst qualities of each of its parents. While customers would expect an Italian-Japanese vehicle to feature Italian styling and lithe driving dynamics coupled to robust Japanese mechanical and electronic systems, the idiosyncratic Arna was the complete reverse. It carried on Alfa's reputation of tempestuous mechanicals and electrical issues married to a Nissan body of questionable build and frumpy styling, with insipid handling common to Japanese cars of the time. This mis-match of technical strengths served to kill the sales of the Arna very rapidly.

Source: Wikipedia, 2011

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