Though the on-again, off-again relationship between Alfa Romeo and the U.S. market has been as turbulent as a soap-opera affair, here’s yet another reason to believe the Italian brand will soon return to America -- we spied this Alfa Romeo Giulietta testing in southeast Michigan and wearing manufacturer license plates.
The tie-up between Chrysler and Fiat (which owns Alfa Romeo) means that the Giulietta seen here could be part of Chrysler’s testing fleet. The attractive Euro-market hatchback is meant to take on the Volkswagen Golf with sophisticated handling and efficient powertrains. When we drove a 2011 Giulietta last April, we called it “the best front-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo ever.”
The good news for American alfisti is that the Giulietta is slated to arrive on our shores after a facelift in 2014. Seeing the car testing on American roads gives us confidence the car is indeed being prepared for a U.S. launch. Of course, the arrival of the Alfa Romeo brand itself is still somewhat uncertain.
Despite promises Alfa Romeo would return to the U.S. market by 2012, it now appears the brand won’t reappear here until 2013. The first Alfa product to show up in the States will likely be either a redesigned version of the MiTo hatchback or the Giulia sedan; however, the Giulia’s launch has been delayed by at least six months due to CEO Sergio Marchionne’s dissatisfaction with the car’s design. The Giulietta hatchback and even a new crossover are expected to follow over the next several years.
Even if we don’t get a car wearing Alfa Romeo badges, the C-EVO platform that underpins the Giulietta will be used as the basis for new Dodge and Chrysler sedans. The four-door twins are expected to pack a Fiat-sourced 2.4-liter inline-four with about 200 hp, as well as a version of Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. They will debut here by 2012.
Photos by Matt Tierney