Alfa Romeo is once again delaying what should be a triumphant return to the U.S. after more than a decade of failed promises to make its way back to the Colonies. The storied Italian sports car and luxury car maker will re-enter with the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C, a lightweight, mid-engine sports car that’s powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.
So if you’re planning on doing your best Dustin Hoffman quarter-life crisis impression, there is hope…eventually.
Originally supposed to come back by the end of this year, we were anticipating the U.S. version of the 4C to make its debut initially at August’s Concorso Italiano during Pebble Beach Concours weekend in Monterey, California. Instead, all we got was a GQ edition of the Fiat 500 cabriolet.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne even confirmed as much. And recently, we’ve been hearing about all the changes the U.S. version of the 4C would have versus the European version–mostly more weight with added safety systems. Oh well.
There is a good chance that the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C is completely finished in terms of development for the U.S. Fiat may just be sitting on its heels to bide some time after the recent announcement that Chrysler was in the process of filing an initial public offering (IPO) of stock shares. Fiat wants the price to go low; the United Auto Workers’ VEBA trust fund, which owns the stock currently, wants to see it go high so it can get the most money possible for retirees. In the prospectus, Fiat said it was having cold feet in buying Chrysler after the American arm’s 58.5 percent ownership proved profitable. A statement like that could damage stock prices–a good thing for Fiat.
Holding back new products could also be a case of not putting its best foot forward, suppressing stock values. Just yesterday, Chrysler’s Jeep division announced that it was delaying the sale of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee after still finding some kinks in the system to work out. When we drove it recently, we noticed that it drove really well, but there were, indeed, some issues with its new nine-speed automatic transmission still.