Home Money Major automaker forced to abandon 70-year tradition due to new EU safety rules

Major automaker forced to abandon 70-year tradition due to new EU safety rules

0 comment
Alfa Romeo has been forced to abandon the offset front number plate position for its future models due to the introduction of new EU regulations for car manufacturers.

Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo has been forced to scrap a 70-year-old design tradition in its stylish vehicles, due to a new safety law introduced by the European Union.

The manufacturer will no longer sell new models with off-centre front license plates because they do not comply with pedestrian safety standards introduced by the EU.

This means the brand will have to go back to using center-mounted plates, like those used by most automakers.

Alfa Romeo’s customary offset number plate on the front bumper dates back to the 1955 Giulietta Spider and is a design feature synonymous with the company and still used on current cars including the Giulia, Stelvio and Tonale.

Alfa Romeo has been forced to abandon the offset front number plate position for its future models due to the introduction of new EU regulations for car manufacturers.

For 69 years, Alfa Romeo has favored the off-centre placement of the front license plate.

This allows the brand’s iconic triangular ‘Scudetto’ grille to extend from the top of the bonnet to the lowest section of the bumper without being obscured in any way.

But the cars in showrooms today are probably the last to have this unique feature, bosses said.

Speaking with the title of automotive specialist. CoachAlfa Romeo’s head of design, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, confirmed that its next-generation models, and those after them, will have conventional front plates in a central position.

He told the publication that the offset plate has been banned by “homologation regulations” introduced as part of the European Union’s General Safety Regulation to provide better protection for pedestrians if they are hit by a car.

“Some die-hard alfisti, who think an Alfa Romeo is not an Alfa Romeo unless it has the license plate on the side, will not be happy,” Mesonero-Romanos said.

The Italian manufacturer will no longer sell new models with off-centre front license plates because they do not comply with pedestrian safety standards introduced by the EU

The Italian manufacturer will no longer sell new models with off-centre front license plates because they do not comply with pedestrian safety standards introduced by the EU

Alfa Romeo's customary offset number plate on the front bumper dates back to 1955. It's a design feature synonymous with the company that is still used on current cars, including the Stelvio (pictured).

Alfa Romeo’s customary offset number plate on the front bumper dates back to 1955. It’s a design feature synonymous with the company that is still used on current cars, including the Stelvio (pictured).

Some of the most recognizable Alfa Romeo cars from earlier eras feature off-centre number plates, including the 156 family saloon (pictured)

Some of the most recognizable Alfa Romeo cars from earlier eras feature off-centre number plates, including the 156 family saloon (pictured)

He added that there are “many beautiful Alfa Romeos in history that have the license plate in the middle.”

Despite what fans may think, the lead designer says the move will have benefits.

“(The regulations) will allow us to have symmetry anyway, so I’m happy. I’m one of the guys who likes the plate in the middle,” he told Autocar.

Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, head of design at Alfa Romeo, says there are several examples of models from the past with centre-mounted front number plates, including the GTV (pictured).

Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, head of design at Alfa Romeo, says there are several examples of models from the past with centre-mounted front number plates, including the GTV (pictured).

Alfa Romeo has recently introduced its first all-electric model, called the Junior (previously Milano, although it was vetoed by Italian lawmakers). As you can see, the brand has already moved away from its traditional offset license plate position.

Alfa Romeo has recently introduced its first all-electric model, called the Junior (previously Milano, although it was vetoed by Italian lawmakers). As you can see, the brand has already moved away from its traditional offset license plate position.

The Junior has a smaller version of Alfa Romeo's shield-shaped 'scudetto' grille that is available in two different designs. 'Leggenda' (pictured) is a traditional vented grill in a nod to classic models.

The 'Progresso' grille (pictured) has a sportier, more contemporary look created through a blocky reimagining of the Alfa Romeo badge.

The Junior has a smaller version of Alfa Romeo’s shield-shaped ‘scudetto’ grille that is available in two different designs. ‘Leggenda’ (left) is a traditional vented grille in a nod to classic models and ‘Progresso’ (right) is a sportier, more contemporary look created from a blocky reimagining of the Alfa Romeo badge.

Alfa Romeo has already made the switch to centrally located front plates on its new Junior, the company’s first all-electric model that has been embroiled in its own controversy.

The SUV was unveiled in April, although it was dramatically vetoed by Italian lawmakers because calling it the Milano violated national laws that prevent manufacturers from suggesting that products be made in Italy.

The electric SUV is produced in Poland, the first Alfa to be manufactured outside Italian borders, which is why it has been banned from using the name of the fashion capital where Alfa is based.

The Junior has a smaller version of the scudetto grille available in two different designs: ‘Progresso’ or ‘Leggenda’.

The former is a sportier, more contemporary look created through a blocky reimagining of the Alfa Romeo badge, while the latter is a more traditional ventilated design that pays homage to its historic vehicles.

The first Alfa Romeo to have its front license plate positioned to the side (which is almost always offset to the near side) was the Giuletta Spider Series 750/101, which debuted in 1955.

The first Alfa Romeo to have its front license plate positioned to the side (which is almost always offset to the near side) was the Giuletta Spider Series 750/101, which debuted in 1955.

Alfa Romeo engineers wanted the license plate to move away from the Spider's grille to allow more airflow to the radiator to cool the engine.

Alfa Romeo engineers wanted the license plate to move away from the Spider’s grille to allow more airflow to the radiator to cool the engine.

The first Alfa Romeo to have its front license plate positioned to the side (which is almost always offset to the near side) was the Giuletta Spider Series 750/101, which debuted in 1955.

Because the radiator was positioned directly behind the shield-shaped scudetto grille, Alfa’s design team placed the number plate to the side to prevent it from compromising engine cooling, which could have caused the car to overheat. .

Since automakers will soon be forced to sell only electric cars, there will typically no longer be a need for vents to provide cooling for internal combustion engines.

Alfa Romeo is probably the only major car company affected by EU changes to pedestrian safety rules.

Bugatti also uses offset front license plates on its hypercars, while models from the past, such as the Mercedes-Benz SLR and Mitsubishi Lancer, have also implemented side-mounted front license plates.

In 2017, British carmaker Land Rover made headlines for its controversial offset rear license plates on its Discovery 4×4.

Although the plate was traditionally placed on the near side section of the tailgate, the current version has it only slightly off-center to the left.

Why the latest model’s asymmetrical design was a nod to the previous generation Discoveries, its designer Gerry McGovern in 2017 blamed car dealers for making it worse by fitting larger license plates.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

You may also like