Alfa Romeo Junior (Milano) designer confirms it's not just for aficionados

The design director ofAlfa Romeo since 2021, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, spoke to the Spanish press about his work at the helm of the brand. An opportunity to highlight a lot of interesting information, especially about the new Junior.

Junior is the first project designed at 100 % by its team. "The project had already started when I joined the team, it was in July 2021, but we knew how to take it and do what we really wanted to do in terms of design." He confirms that it's a car he designed in a very short space of time. "I arrived in July 2021 and by the end of the year the design was practically finished [...] Fast because we wanted to get it to market as quickly as possible. We had to get a new Alfa Romeo to market quickly, in addition to the Tonale."


He underlines the need for a pragmatic approach in an industrial environment where economic and technical considerations often predominate over the pure art of design. "Aerodynamics, weight and the cost of the materials used are the three factors that most influence design today and limit our work, but we adapt to them, to which we must also add the homologation and regulations imposed by Europe, which are increasingly strict and difficult [...] I've been living in this situation for 20 years. I've worked for the Volkswagen and Renault groups, where this practice of synergy has been common for so many years, that I'm used to these constraints. We're designers, not artists".

Despite this industrial synergy, the Junior retains distinctive Alfa Romeo elements. "We wanted to maintain a physical link between man and machine. For us, that's important. We didn't want touch-sensitive controls," says Mesonero-Romanos. This design choice reflects a desire to maintain the authentic driving experience appreciated by brand aficionados. In addition, the integration of a 10-inch multimedia screen facing the driver, although judged too low by some, demonstrates this fusion of ergonomics and modern technology. Three-plus-three headlamps will also be a trademark of future Alfa Romeo models. On the Tonale and Junior they are used as daytime running lights (DRL), "on the Stelvio and Giulia, I can tell you that we'll be doing that too, but in a very different way".


Alfa Romeo Junior targets introduce the brand to previously unexplored market segments, replacing the MiTo and Giulietta models, and targeting potential customers from competing brands such as Mini and Audi. "With this car, we want to capture customers that we don't have today at Alfa Romeo. I'm convinced that we'll win over Mini and Audi customers", says Mesonero-Romanos.

Mesonero-Romanos also discusses the electric future of the automobile with a certain detachment: "To put it simply, when it comes to design, I don't care if it's an electric car or a coal-fired car". The designer wants to appeal to a younger audience, without losing the passion of the alfists: "Here, we're all contaminated by car culture, by the history of the automobile, but you have to think that's not the case for the average person. [...] There's also a generation of young people. I now have two daughters, aged 20 and 19, and you have to think about them. Maybe they're still a bit young to afford a model like this, but a car like this would be on their bucket list. Young people don't know the history of Alfa Romeo."


"Junior is one of the four projects we completed in two and a half years. Even this one started before the 33 Stradale". As for future models, the Spaniard confirmed that the designs for the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Alfa Romeo Stelvio have already been completed and will see the light of day in the coming months. These will incorporate parts of the brand's historic cars with current elements, such as the Junior with the coda tronca. It's a feature that completely cuts off the air flow [...] So it's something we'll be seeing in future Alfa Romeos.

Sources : elespagnol, okdiario...



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  1. They've frozen the design of the future Giulia and Stelvio even before getting feedback on the Milano/Junior. That's clever... especially given the fact that the latter is unanimously opposed...

    We can fear the worst.

  2. There's a mistake in the title, remove "that", it's not for Alfists!
    then we always come back to the same criticisms, but before taking customers from competitors, you should have thought about something other than puretoc.

  3. Clearly, with all this SUV madness, a lot of alfisti are left on the side of the road waiting in vain for Giulietta.

    • The Gulia is not a family car, and trunk access and volume for a family of 4 is poor.
      I was ready to take a Gulia station wagon, but I had to fall back on the Stelvio, which is a very dynamic SUV that suits me perfectly since I often go into the mountains.
      But I hope Alfa keeps its soul...
      I started at Alfa with the Gulia in the 70s, then 1750, Alfa 6, 156, Crossover 156, Gulietta, Brera and Stelvio.

  4. Is he targeting mini or audi customers? People who think "it's German, so it's good"? He's completely dreaming.

    Meanwhile, customers who want compacts and coupes are chomping at the bit...

  5. Design is one thing, I'm waiting to see the Junior in real life, but to convince those who buy Audis or Minis (as well as alfists) you also need engines. And that's where there's a problem, with just the 136hp PureTech, and two electric engines, the 156hp we've seen too much of at Stellantis, and the 240hp we're waiting to see.

  6. Ex-PSA is infecting Italian brands with its "big mouth, little arms" syndrome.

    - They've never been able to break into the high-end segment.
    - They think they can do without the "alfists" but Alfa Romeo isn't BMW, you take away the alfists and you easily lose 70% of sales.
    - They have the nerve to claim to be premium, with a finish that flirts with low-cost in places, 20-inch rims to reveal scooter disc brakes, cannocchiale to reveal a rectangular screen, an engine known as the worst of our time, a prehistorically-engineered enhanced and lengthened city car platform, a range of color and interior choices worthy of a Lada Niva....
    - They've been here 3 years already and what they're proposing is... this? Let them keep a low profile instead of being haughty, contemptuous and smug.

    • An opinion that's a little out of place in this flood of murderous criticism from the Biscione fundamentalists, I think we need to be more nuanced. It's easy, as a "purist", to criticize the Junior, to say that it's a French car produced in Poland and designed by a Spaniard, etc. etc. etc. However, there are more purists than buyers of the supposedly "real" Alfa models, such as the Giulia and the Stelvio. In my 45 years behind the wheel of an Alfa (from the 1979 Alfasud TI to today's Giulia Veloce), I've always heard that Alfa cars were no longer real Alfa cars, that the brand would disappear, that it was surviving on bits and pieces. In most cases, this was true, but it's amusing to read some of today's comments explaining that the 75 or the 147 were "real" Alfa cars, whereas back then we were told that the 1980 Giulietta had nothing in common with its glorious 1955 predecessor, that the 75 was just a mediocre, outdated patch-up of the Alfetta, or that the 156 and the 147 couldn't be "real" Alfa cars because a "real" Alfa is necessarily a rear-wheel drive.
      Coming back to the Junior, I think that, provided it offers the road-holding, comfort and handling qualities we've come to expect from an Alfa Romeo, it could represent an interesting proposition in the ultra-competitive urban SUV segment, likely to appeal to a new customer base. And we shouldn't jump too quickly to conclusions about the Puretech: feedback from the 136hp version with timing chain is quite good (see the 208's tests, I realize the sacrilege of such a statement) and should suit the Junior well. I'm more worried, I must say, about the range of the 240 hp electric version, which should otherwise be rather nice (this is the problem I've noticed with the electric Abarth, which is great fun to drive sportily -less so than the petrol version, admittedly, but not bad nonetheless- but whose range then becomes ridiculous).

      Purist friends, let's avoid becoming a sect of "it was better before". And let's put our actions in line with our words: let's buy Giulias while there's still time - it's still possible, even if a new Giulia will almost certainly be a diesel (for petrols, we're forced to turn to second-hand cars, given the malus) - and let's make sure it becomes a collector's star! And with a clear conscience, we'll be able to deplore the fact that future Alfa models are no longer worthy of the brand's glorious, if sometimes chaotic, history.

      • I love Alfa; passionate even. I share your point of view.
        Am I an Alfist without ever having owned a Busso?
        Am I an alfist if I've only owned pull-ups?
        Am I an aficionado if I've only owned diesels?
        May the brand survive us!

  7. Standardized product for standardized consumer, Netflix-educated and McDonald's-fed. The objective is limited to increasing the profit margin...
    So it's clearly not a product for Alfists.

  8. Most Alfisti don't like the silhouette of this SUV. But since there are so few of them, who cares? At the very least, they could have left the license plate offset. Unfortunately, there are already too many models in this segment. Let's not talk about the engine, whose timing belt has been replaced by a bicycle chain. What happened to the twin sparks and other sister models....
    Personally, I don't believe it. Alfa must fall in line or disappear.....

    • Alfa Romeo should continue with the perfection of the Giulia and Stelvio, a (battered) image is (re)built over several decades, it's done little by little, simply by proving itself, look at the BAMs, especially Audi. It's not a one-shot, one-generation process. You don't move forward by giving up and turning your back on your history and your loyal customers. It's like anything else: without perseverance, you'll never get anywhere.

      The Tonale had already strayed off the track, and this Junior is totally misguided. I haven't seen a lapse in taste like this since 145...

  9. They had already abandoned the large sedan segment 10/20 years ago, and now they're abandoning the affordable segment, which is precisely where the few aficionados who haven't left for the competition remain. This segment is crucial because it's the solid base of current MiTo and 147/Giulietta owners, but what owner would replace his model with this?

    In short, Mesonero himself says that they wanted to bring out an SUV very quickly. It's sloppy... It lacks investment, and it shows. It's not enough to put a biscione in the air vents and barrels in front of a rectangular speedometer to turn a Peugeot into an Alfa Romeo...

    Impatato, Mesonero: you'll really have to get involved, or get out...

    • Lapsus or deliberate pun? Impatato means impacted em Italian... which figuratively can be defined as: to be influenced in a rather negative way 😉

  10. He certainly means, it's no longer for alfists, a true connoisseur of the brand would no longer buy a toy, uglier copy even than Peugeot 2008 and other French junk.
    They've sacrificed charm, beauty, purity, driving feel and everything else that used to distinguish this brand.
    Too bad.

  11. In fact, they don't care about the make. He's Spanish, in his country there's no mechanical tradition, the country doesn't have a car brand. Seat was founded by Fiat. For him, it's cans. Better still, he doesn't mind making a tractor or an Alfa. I think he's even happy to see the brand go down, because at least he feels he's been well paid to do anything, and then he can be contemptuous, leaving the way clear for the so-called Spanish Cupras. What a dream job!

    • You have to realize that under Stellantis, they chose to put Dacia's designer in charge of Alfa Romeo. You have to understand that to understand the level.

  12. Only the market will give its verdict.
    Despite their immense qualities and their Alfa DNA, the Giulia and Stelvio have failed to sell, and the Tonale isn't doing much better. We'll see whether the risks taken with the Junior will pay off.

  13. Alfa romeo is dead long live Alfa !
    How sad! Brand identity is disappearing in favor of large groups using the same platform for all their models. Only the brand badge is changing 😭😭
    Let's enjoy our latest authentic Alfa for a while longer

  14. I couldn't agree more. As Tavares is obsessed with costs, he has undoubtedly selected the cheapest designer on the market. In three years, he managed to design the most vulgar grille in car production and graft it onto a pseudo-Alfa Romeo. Great art! As for the interior, it's a joy to behold: black, black, black...

  15. I'm 18 and I know the history of Alfa inside out. I know plenty of young people in my age bracket who are just as much fans as I am, so to say that Alfa Romeo doesn't interest young people is rather clumsy, at least from my point of view...

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