The launch of the MiTo on 19th June 2008 was quite the event. Attended by Luca Montezemolo (President of Fiat Group), Sergio Marchionne (CEO of Fiat Group), Luca De Meo (CEO of Alfa Romeo) and of course the MiTo designer Juan Manuel Diaz, along with the world’s motoring press. The setting was the impressive Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle), built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza the Duke of Milan on the remains of a 14th century fortification in the centre of the industrial and financial heart of Italy.
Centre-stage was the new MiTo in beautiful 8C red paintwork, elegantly stood above dark tinted, mirrored floor tiles, casting a watery reflection against a back-drop of the ancient stone walls and arches of the medieval surroundings. Inside the castle, huge screens projected videos and images of the MiTo design from concept to reality along with scale models, design concepts and drawings from the design teams at the Alfa Romeo Centro Stile before an audience of hundreds of people from the industry and the press, all privileged to have been invited to Alfa Romeo’s biggest launch in years.
Motoring journalists were then invited into one of a fleet of shiny new MiTos and were sent on a long and winding road-test route to the north-east of Milan, taking in a stint on the steep banks of the old Monza circuit and heading out onto more pleasant and photogenic twisty roads in the hills of Italy.
The MiTo was the first small car from Alfa Romeo since the 1970s, and this was a hugely important launch for Alfa Romeo. The 147 was ageing and Alfa needed to plug the small-car gap that was being rapidly filled by the Fiat 500, the new Mini, the Vauxhall Corsa and similar compact offerings from the German manufacturers. And Alfa Romeo certainly took a risk with the test route offered to the motoring press; there was plenty of opportunity for failure, every type of road surface covered and the rugged, un-maintained fast banks of the old Monza circuit can be jarring. But the road-test cars provided were well-appointed 1.4 Turbo 155bhp versions fitted with the optional leather interior, receiving broadly great reviews on all road styles from the attending motoring press.
But UK buyers had to wait a further month until the British International Motor Show at the ExCel in London to see the MiTo, and then until the end of 2008 to try a MiTo on our mainland, with pre-orders being taken from October 2008 ahead of the official launch here in January 2009. Prices started at £10,975 on-the-road for the entry-level 1.4 16v 95 bhp Turismo rising to £14,975 for the 1.4 TB 155 bhp Veloce. Initial press reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and dealers reported strong sales to the urban-cool, trendy buyers that Alfa Romeo had hoped to attract.
15th Anniversary – 19th June 2023
The Alfa Romeo Owners Club MiTo Register will be gathering at Curborough Sprint Course on Monday 19th June 2023 to mark the 15th Anniversary of the launch of the Alfa Romeo MiTo.
The event is for AROC members only, and only with a MiTo. The day will include a friendly gathering and plenty of track-time, with more details on our Events page in due course.