Re-establishing the sporty Alfa Romeo brand in North America has been part of Fiat's agenda since its takeover of Chrysler at the depths of the American financial meltdown. That move is part of a broader Fiat strategy to make Alfa a broader-based luxury-car maker, in the mode of BMW.
Last April, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the rear-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo 4C sports coupe, which made its public debut as a concept at the Frankfurt auto show in 2011, will go on sale in North America by the end of 2013. And the company filed trademarks for the brand and model, reinforcing that promise.
At last week's Detroit auto show, however, Marchionne appeared to waffle on that commitment, saying that Maserati and the launch of its new Quattroporte were higher on his priority list and implying that the Alfa return would be delayed.
"This undertaking to try and bring Alfa back is a one-shot deal," Automotive News reported Marchionne as saying. "We’re not going to execute it poorly. There are things which are in the DNA of the Alfa brand that need to be preserved... (and) we’re not ready."
Then, on Friday, Marchionne appeared to reverse himself again, according to the Detroit News. "We're finalizing the car now, so it should be here by the end of the year," he reportedly said at an industry breakfast in Detroit.
Production of the 4C is expected to begin at a Maserati assembly plant in Modena, Italy, in May, 2013, with a target volume of 2500 cars per year.
The mid-engined Alfa 4C is powered by a new turbocharged direct- injection, four-cylinder, 1.8-litre engine, at least in Europe. Whether that one, or another, the model sold in North-America will have a European engine, Marchionne has said.