Alfa Romeo continues to raise production of its new 147 in response to strong demand.
The 147 has so far generated 55,000 dealer orders, said Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, sales and marketing director of parent Fiat Auto.
When the new car was unveiled last October, Fiat Auto Managing Director Roberto Testore said the plans were to build 90,000 units in 2001 and 100,000 to 110,000 the following year.
But at the Bologna auto show in early December, Diaz Ruiz announced that 147 output would be increased to 120,000 units in 2001. He said he personally felt 'a 150,000 unit a year potential' for the car.
Then, a week before the Geneva auto show, Diaz Ruiz said 147 output would rise to 140,000 units this year.
Alfa unveiled a five-door version of the 147 at Geneva. It has the same dimensions as the three-door. Like the larger 156, the five-door 147's rear door handles are hidden in the black C-pillars.
Diaz Ruiz described the 147 as 'the car of the next generation.' He said it is winning customers from other brands and is creating a strong base for the Alfa brand. Fifty percent of 147 buyers are young people, said Diaz Ruiz, and 33 percent are women.
Alfa's plans for this year also include a face-lift of the 156, due in the autumn, together with the launch of a high-performance GTA 156.