Alfa Romeo’s return to the United States market has been a long and drawn-out process, one repeatedly lengthened by postponements, product changes, and financial hardships. But parent company Fiat is putting all of that in the past; the company even went so far as to say Alfa Romeo’s future will be bigger — and more profitable — than Fiat’s.
It doesn’t take a long memory to remember that Fiat’s re-launch in the United States was a treacherous one, as the diminutive 500 hatchback initially struggled to gain traction. After selling just under 20,000 units in 2011 (well short of its goals), the brand moved 43,772 units in 2012, a much better showing. Here’s hoping that Fiat and Chrysler learned enough about the hurdles of launching Fiat, because Chrysler Group’s head of network development Peter Grady recently said that Alfa Romeo will outsell its sibling.
The reasoning behind that claim is pretty valid: while Fiat will stick with the 500 and a handful of variants (Abarth, Turbo, C convertible, X crossover, and L family hatchback), Alfa Romeo will start with the long-awaited 4C sports coupe later this year and go from there to a more diverse portfolio of cars. Those cars, as we’ve reported, include the Giulia sedan, a crossover, a roadster version of the 4C coupe, a rear-wheel drive BMW 3 Series-fighter, and a Spider convertible developed in conjunction with Mazda’s MX-5 Miata.
Can Alfa Romeo outsell Fiat after all? At this point we’re still cautious, focusing more on Alfa’s ability to return to the U.S. at all than its long-term future. But it’s obvious that Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is standing behind the storied Italian brand — he said that Alfa’s one of only two Chrysler Group/Fiat SpA brands that have true global appeal. The other, of course, is Jeep.