Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to appoint an executive to oversee Alfa Romeo in the U.S by the end of this year. Doing so will help parent company Fiat reestablish the Alfa in the U.S. market for the first time since 1995. It also is a good sign that Alfa will reappear on our shores after repeated delays and disappointments.
Marchionne plans to appoint a leader for Alfa Romeo’s North American division by the end of 2011. The position will reportedly be filled by someone within the Fiat-Chrysler group. After that, Alfa Romeo should launch here in mid-2013 and aims to sell 85,000 vehicles in 2014.
Automotive News reports that Marchionne believes there is strong demand for Alfa Romeo cars in the U.S., and that the brand’s image here remains strong. In Europe, by contrast, Alfa Romeo’s reputation has flagged in response to poor quality and aging vehicle designs.
The plan is to sell Alfa Romeo products at Fiat dealerships, of which there are 124 currently open in the U.S. with 150 planned to be operational by years’ end. Fiat, however, will continue to only sell the subcompact 500 for the foreseeable future.
So, which vehicles will help usher in Alfa Romeo’s return to our shores?
The first vehicle launching in the U.S. will be the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is to be powered by a new turbocharged, 1.8-liter inline-four engine producing 300 hp. Alfa Romeo also will build a compact SUV based on the Jeep Liberty. Additionally, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan and wagon will share underpinnings with the 2012 Chrysler 200. They will be built in the U.S. and should debut here in 2014.
Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine will be adapted and downsized for use in Alfa Romeo vehicles, possibly with the addition of turbocharging or direct injection. Alfa Romeo also plans to launch a large luxury sedan in 2014, based on the underpinnings of the Chrysler 300. It might be called the 6C or the Montreal, and will be built in North America. AN also reports that Alfa could launch a two-seat roadster b y 2014, and a subcompact five-door hatchback by 2013.
Source: Automotive News