The idea of a luxurious minivan might raise a few eyebrows, but this niche is becoming more popular in China where Buick sells the GL8 while Lexus has the LM. Coming soon, the Volvo EM90 will also join the high-end MPV segment, while the new Toyota Century SUV can be had with van-like sliding doors. Alfa Romeo is eager to boost its customer base now that it finally has the financial backing of its parent company Stellantis.
Speaking with Autocar magazine, Alfa Romeo design chief Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos talked about the Autotutto pictured here: "It was beautiful. By the way, you wouldn't be surprised if this returned one day. It might be just a tease, but it's also not such a crazy idea." Reading between the lines, it would seem a minivan is under consideration but likely hasn't been approved for production yet.
1961 Alfa Romeo Autotutto
Yes, there was such a thing as an Alfa Romeo van back in the day. The Autotutto ("all purpose") was marketed as the Alfa Romeo Romeo between 1954 and 1966 before being replaced a year later by the F12 and A12 vans. While a modern-day successor would be electric given the industry's shift to EVs, some of these old vans were offered with a supercharged two-cylinder diesel along with a detuned Twin Cam gasoline unit.
The Autotto was sold in several configurations catering to different needs, including a commercial van, double-cab pickup, drop-side truck, a high-roof van, and the Promiscuo van with more seats and windows. There were also school buses, minibuses, and ambulances, along with custom versions created by coachbuilding companies. Over the course of its 12-year run, about 23,000 examples were made. The rarest of the three versions was the Romeo 3 since it was produced for only six months in 1966.
A new van from Alfa Romeo presumably doesn't rank high on the list of priorities since the fabled Italian brand has bigger fish to fry. It'll launch a sub-Tonale small crossover in 2024, which will be followed later this decade by EV replacements for the Giulia and Stelvio. A bigger SUV with the United States in mind is set to arrive in 2027 and there are reports the 4C will return as an electric sports car. Meanwhile, a new supercar to follow the 33 Stradale is also in the works.
Stellantis isn't investing only in Alfa Romeo's resurgence as it’s also revitalizing Lancia, another troubled Italian marque. In addition, Fiat's performance division Abarth is getting fresh products, starting with the 500e hot hatch.