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New Alfa to build on 156

Alfa Romeo's star attraction at the Paris motor show was the 147 compact car which will go on sale in the UK next March in 3dr form followed later in the year by a 5dr.

The Italian marque is targeting mainstream VW Golf, Audi A3 and BMW Compact owners with its newcomer.

Peter Newton, Fiat group UK spokesman, said: “The 147 will help carry on the renaissance of the brand which was really triggered by the 156. It is coming at a time when we have huge demand for 156 and have already sold out our full 2000 allocation of the Sportwagon despite increasing our UK build numbers by 25%.

“We have no doubt the 147 can attract buyers from Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and even Mercedes-Benz C-class hatch owners. This car will catapult us into the mainstream market against many of the big boys.”

* Fiat launched the Doblo, based on a new light commercial van, which is lined up to go head-to-head with the Kangoo and Berlingo. Built on an all-new floorpan, the MPV will be shown at the Birmingham motor show in both commercial and private versions.

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