Alfa Romeo: a distinctive feature you won't see on future models

Fans of the Italian brand Alfa Romeo are familiar with this aesthetic detail that has long distinguished the firm's cars: the license plate on the side of the front bumper. Iconic models such as the Giulia, Stelvio, Giulietta, Mito, 159, 156 and 147 all feature this characteristic. But this was not always the case for all models. Vehicles like the 145, 155 and GTV had their license plates centered. This lateral positioning is a a nod to the past, reminiscent of the classic cars of the 1950s and 1960s, where the plate on the side highlighted the famous Scudetto, Alfa Romeo's signature grille.

However, a significant change is underway. The brand's latest model, Alfa Romeo Juniordisplays a centered license plate. This could be seen as a simple aesthetic decision or a technical constraint linked to the sharing of components with other models in the group. But according to Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Alfa Romeo's Design Director, the reason is quite different.


In an interview with Autocar, Mesonero-Romanos explained that this decision was mainly due to new european regulations. "We can no longer put the license plate on the side because of homologation regulations for pedestrian safety," he said. Indeed, the European Union's new General Safety Regulations have been put in place to better protect pedestrians in the event of a collision with a car. This means that future electric Giulia and Stelvio replacements, as well as all new models to come, will have the license plate centered.

This new rule may displease die-hard Alfisti purists, who believe that an Alfa Romeo is authentic only if it has the license plate on the side. However, Mesonero-Romanos tempers these concerns by pointing out that several historic Alfa Romeo models also featured a central plate. "I have an Alfetta and a Giulia from 1968, both with a central plate, and they're beautiful," he added. What's more, this layout creates symmetry on the vehicle, something the design director particularly appreciates.


We've tried to understand the details of these new constraints on license plate location, but to no avail. The official texts on front bumpers and specific regulations remain unclear to the uninitiated. In any case, all future Alfa Romeo models will adopt this new central configurationThe result is a symmetrical appearance that may or may not be appreciated by some, while meeting modern safety requirements.


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  1. In any case, the Junior's design doesn't have much in common with traditional Alfa Romeos, so whether the license plate is in the center or on the right-hand side, it doesn't change much. Before the 156, number plates were in the center, and there are just as many beautiful Alfa Romeos with plates in the center as on the side. Even if the plate on the side is a big aesthetic plus for my taste.

  2. "I own an Alfetta and a Giulia from 1968, both with center plates..."

    Obviously the guy has 2 Alfa Romeo, and conveniently 2 models with the plate in the middle...

    He reminds me of the Decathlon salesman who wants to sell you a pair of sneakers at all costs: it doesn't matter which one you choose in the aisle, he says he has the same one at home...

  3. I went and read the standard in question, and there's nothing in it about off-center license plates.
    Stellantis takes Alfistians for fools, and shamelessly lies. It's unbearable!
    By the way, journalists would do well to show a little critical thinking and not take Stellantis' comments as gospel, especially in view of their recurrent lies. This criticism isn't aimed specifically at ItalPassion: I've read exactly the same thing on 2 or 3 other sites...

    • Could you tell us where you found this information, because if this story about the plate being in the center and no longer on the side doesn't meet the new standards, Alfa Romeo would be lying through its teeth?

  4. What about a law against suvs whose ride height obstructs the view of the most exposed pedestrians, i.e. children? No ?

  5. I'm curious to see where he's going to put the front plate on his 33 stradale... So far he's given the runaround, no front plate at all.
    When you look at the dreadful designs of the bm and audi to get around the plate, or the 166 and its tiny triangle... It's absurd to impose such a huge constraint in a place where design is so important. Just imagine a 147, for which I've received so many comments on its beauty, with a plate "in the middle" - there's no way it would work.
    As for the many people who say that the lack of symmetry bothers them, they generally have an ugly car, which means they have no taste, which means they have no say in the matter.

  6. They can put it wherever they like, but I don't care... As I feel no motivation to buy a Peugeot dressed up in Italian haute couture, I've just ordered a Kia XCeed and put an end to 30 years of driving a Fiat or Alfa since I bought a Fiat coupé in 1996. My GT 2.0 JTS is at the end of its life and I can't find any parts to maintain it... I've been waiting for the presentations of the new Y and the Milano/Junior, but now it's simply ridiculous. My passion for authentic Italian cars is still intact, and that's why I won't let myself be fooled by Stellantis' fine singing.

    • The management of Alfa Romeo (but also of the entire group) is calamitous. Not to mention all the pots and pans of unreliability that ex-PSA is dragging around...

      In concrete terms, apart from the Giulia, there's nothing in the range that meets my expectations at the moment. For the next one, Imparato plans to make an ugly 408/C5 X (apparently the whole range is to be SUVized), so it's not looking good. As for a hypothetical Giulietta, knowing the Scrooge gang, it'll be a slightly re-bodied 308 with biscione all over it.

      In concrete terms, even with a substantial budget, there's nothing in the range that would make me want to buy it. Until further notice (ideally the departure of these cardboard executives), I'm going to start taking a good look at the competition...

      As someone rightly said on another subject: the vaccine against the Alfa virus exists, it's called Stellantis...

      • I quite agree with all that. With only SUVs on the market (even if that's what people want), cars derived from Peugeot models, electric engines or PureTech hybrids, it's hard to see how Alfa Romeo's upcoming models (or those already with the Junior) will be of any particular interest. So, by necessity, we're going to look elsewhere.

  7. We're beginning to wonder about the future of the ItalPassion site. With the exception of Ferrari and Lamborghini (under the VW umbrella, but still preserved), all the Italian brands are now derivatives of Peugeot, and there's no passion left...

  8. It's a bit rich to pretend it's a matter of standards, they're taking their customers for fools who swallow everything they're told, real politicians......they can't choose a name that complies with Italian laws and what excuse will they find for the choice of puretoc at Alfa and Lancia!?
    Of course no journalist asks them, apart from that they are all independent journalists.

    • Of course I agree. There are plenty of markets where hybrid engines still sell very well, while electric cars stagnate or sell poorly.
      Alfa Romeo and the other Italian brands could offer hybrids with character. Instead, they're putting PureTech everywhere, on the Junior, the new Ypsilon, the Fiat 600e, and we can be sure that this will continue for future models.

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