In a move that is quickly becoming old hat Fiat announced it’s pushing back the arrival of Alfa Romeo stateside. Originally, the Italian two-seater 4C was slated to begin showing up at Fiat dealerships across the U.S. in 2012 but Chrysler Group boss Sergio Marchionne has moved the arrival to the middle of 2013. Although it’s not a drastic change in the grand scheme of things, this latest stalling has created some anxiety for Fiat dealers.
“The icing on the cake for us as retailers is the Alfa Romeo franchise,” said Carl Galeana to USA Today. Galena runs Fiat of Lakeside, located in Macomb, Mich. about 37 miles north of Detroit. Galena isn’t alone: About 100 Fiat dealers in the U.S. signed on to sell Alfa Romeo when it gets here.
Alfa Romeo’s most recent holdup stems from a weak economy in Europe. Once Fiat deems it appropriate, the 235 horsepower 4C will be introduced first, followed (much later) by the Giulia. Expected to come as a mid-size sedan and wagon, the Giulia is even further off schedule than the 4C. Originally expected in 2012 Fiat is now shooting for 2014 to bring the Giulia over from Europe. The Giulia was supposed to be the first vehicle introduced in the U.S. but Marchionne wasn’t satisfied with how it had been designed, for the third time. The Giulietta, a hatchback sibling of the Giulia, is also expected to make its debut in 2014.
This most recent delay does include one casualty, with the company abandoning plans to build a Jeep-based midsize Alfa crossover at Jeep’s Toledo, Ohio, facility. Dodge will also have to work around the delay as the Giulietta was expected to fill the void of small vehicle left vacant by the Neon and most recently the soon-to-be discontinued Caliber.
The latest setback isn’t a surprise to many as Alfa Romeo started weighing its options on a return to the U.S. 11 years ago. With the exception of the 8C that has been making rounds at Maserati dealerships stateside (albeit not in droves) you’ll have to continue waiting if you want an Alfa Romeo.
Or you could just move to Europe.
Are you surprised by Fiat and Alfa Romeo’s most recent stalling? Do you think Alfa will ever return to the U.S.? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Source: USA Today, Automotive News