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Alfa Romeo's U.S. Launch Pushed Back to 2013

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On: Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 1:16PM | By: Chris Weiss

Alfa Romeo's U.S. Launch Pushed Back to 2013

The U.S. is about to get a little more European over the next few years. Fiat Group vehicles from Alfa Romeo and Fiat itself are poised to start returning to our highways this year and next. Or they were, in the case of Alfa Romeo. Originally planned for a late-2012 U.S. launch, Alfa cars like the Giulia sedan and station wagon are now unlikely to make it here before mid-2013, according to an Automotive News report.

Sources with direct knowledge told Automotive News Europe that delays in design and manufacturing are likely to push back Giulia production, and thus delay Alfa's long-awaited U.S. return. Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne has reportedly been unhappy with the designs he's seen from Alfa. He's also unhappy with Chrysler designs for the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger replacements, cars that will share a platform with the Giulia.

In addition to delaying Alfa's U.S. sales, Giulia setbacks are stripping its line in Europe, where it currently only has three offerings: the Giullietta, the MiTO and the 159. Competitors have several times that number of vehicles, and even Saab, which nearly disappeared from existence last year, has four different vehicles. Alfa will have a difficult time competing.

Fiat is determined to make Alfa Romeo profitable and has developed a sales target of 500,000 units by 2014. 85,000 of those sales are expected to come from the North American market. The Italian company sold just 112,000 units last year, less than half of the 300,000 unit sales goal that Marchionne had designated for 2010.

On the plus side, the 2013 return should coincide with the anticipated launch of the 4C sports coupe, which should go into production late next year. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last month, the sports coupe was confirmed for the U.S. and may come complete with Porsche engine options. It's certainly one of the big advantages of getting access to Alfa here.


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