The Alfa Romeo ARNA (Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli) Type 920 was the result of a joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Nissan, which formed Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli S.p.A between 1983 and 1987. The company was founded in 1980 as a 50:50 joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Nissan.
For the joint venture, a new plant was constructed in Pratola Serra, near Naples. The body panels of the car were constructed in Japan by Nissan, then shipped to Italy for final assembly. Nissan and Alfa Romeo also engaged in a commercial cabover truck, called the Romeo and rebadged as the Nissan Trade for a short time.
The product of the relationship was launched at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Arna was largely based on the N12 series Nissan Pulsar / Nissan Cherry but featured Alfa Romeo engines carried over from the Alfasud, as well as an Alfa transmission, steering, front brakes and front suspension.
It did however use an independent rear suspension and rear brakes from Nissan. The Arna was also briefly marketed as the Nissan Cherry Europe in the United Kingdom and Spain. 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 initially sold as a three-door L and a five-door SL, and was fitted with the Alfasud 1.2 boxer engine (63 PS). In 1984, a three-door TI version, with an 85 hp 1.3-litre boxer four engine, was introduced, which was capable of reaching a top speed of 106 mph. In November 1984 (model year 1985) came a more powerful 1.2 engine in the same trim configurations with 67 hp, while there were no external differences there were light alterations to the interior.
Later, there were also some TI trim cars built with 1.5-litre engines, sold also as the Nissan Cherry Europe GTI. The more powerful 1.5 TI/Cherry GTI had a top speed of 109 mph. The TI version was discontinued halfway through 1986.