We’re not too surprised by this news, but we’re still saddened to hear it. Alfa Romeo has announced that it will once again delay its return to the U.S. market by about a year. As such, the chic Italian automobiles won’t grace American shores until some time in 2013.
As we’ve previously reported, the Italian automaker was hoping to start selling its models in late 2012, with Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne signaling as late as last month that the timeframe was still okay. According to Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester’s comments at a Thursday press conference, that time frame has now been pushed back to the middle of 2013 at the very least, thanks to a shaky European economy.
The first car to arrive on our shores will be the 235-hp, rear-wheel-drive, superlight 4C sports car, which should hit showroom floors in the middle of 2013. Automotive News claims that model will be followed by the five-door hatchback MiTo, which should go on sale a couple of months later.
The true latecomer, however, will be the Giulia mid-size sedan and wagon, which are about two years behind schedule. The Giulia was supposed to be Alfa’s debut car, but Automotive News reports that Marchionne rejected his styling team’s first three styling proposals. As such, we won’t see the Giulia until 2014, along with its hatchback Giulietta sibling.
Better late than never, we suppose -- which is exactly when we’ll see a midsize Alfa SUV built in the U.S. Plans for a new Alfa Romeo crossover for the U.S., which would have been built in Toledo, Ohio, and perhaps based off a Jeep platform, have apparently been completely scrapped.
Should it finally happen, Alfa’s launch will have been a long time coming. The brand started considering a return to North America almost 11 years ago, but apart from selling the high-price, low-volume 8C Competizione through Maserati dealers, that idea hasn’t become a true reality. Fiat’s U.S. dealers are reportedly clamoring to add Alfa and flesh out their product lines, but until the launch actually kicks off, they’ll have to hawk as many 500, 500C -- and, eventually, 500 Abarths -- as possible.