The joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Nissan

Stabilimento Arna Pratola Sera 1983 mediagallery page

In 1980, Alfa Romeo and Nissan signed a joint venture leading to the construction of the Pratola Serra factory, where the Arna and Alfa Romeo 33 models would be produced.

It was late 1970s. Middle and lower class cars were emerging in the automotive market. The segment was dominated by Volkswagen Golf, which Fiat, although late, contrasted with the Ritmo and Lancia Delta models. Alfa Romeo also had something in mind, but soon understood that it could not create a new car on its own in a short time.

So Alfa’s management decided to sign a joint venture with Nissan by setting up an ad hoc plant. The agreement was signed in Tokyo on the 9th October 1980, sanctioning the birth of Alfa Romeo Nissan SpA. The site chosen for the plant was Pratola Serra, a flatland area in Irpinia, home to industrial complexes since the end of World War II.

The plant took shape in record time. The goal was to assemble the bodies of the Pulsar model, supplied by Nissan, with the mechanics from Alfasud. However, a problem arose. The technicians soon realized that the Pulsar bodies needed modification in order to accommodate the Alfasud mechanics. This generated a severe delay in sales and a significant increase in production costs. Yet, during this stage, the new factory was able to succeed in producing two models known in the market with the names of Arna and Alfa Romeo 33.