By on September 4, 2012

A shocking report from Automotive News has broached a previously unfathomable development; Alfa Romeo’s U.S. launch is apparently delayed, catching countless observers off-guard, after expecting an efficient, trouble-free re-introduction for the historic marque.

The AN report suggests that Alfa’s launch is about as well-organized as a Republican Guard counter-attack. Key products, like the MiTo and Giulietta, have been shelved for America. So far, the company will lead with the new 4C sports car…and that’s it. The fate of the larger Giulia sedan is still up in the air. Once planned for a rear-drive chassis, it will now share the size-XL version of the Dodge Dart platform that will also underpin the next Chrysler 200.

The Mazda MX-5 derived Roadster is also on track, as is a Jeep Liberty-based crossover. But a small crossover has also been canned. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne will unveil a definitive model lineup plan for Alfa on October 30th. As cynical and sarcastic as we can be, seeing Alfa fail is something that nobody wants. Fingers crossed.

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47 Comments on “Alfa Romeo U.S. Launch In Shambles...”


  • avatar
    NMGOM

    The loss of Alfa (again!) would be tragic. Those cars were ubiquitous in Europe and well respected in a former era. I was especially looking forward to the new Giulietta.

    But I am not surprised. Sergio’s almost hysterical tone in his verbal assault on VW last month suggested that things were not at all going well within the Fiat Kingdom. Martin Winterkorn rebuffed him by demanding his resignation, of course; and threatened to leave the “club” of European car manufacturers.

    ——–

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Why are they bothering to even create (recreate?) another division for Chrysler to compete with. Just bring them over as Chrysler’s and be done with it. This would give Chrysler a large portfolio of vehicles it could sell that they don’t share with Dodge. Just give them the Italian styling on the outside with upscale interiors and BAM.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Come on- Alfa Romeo has branding cachet that Chrysler and Dodge simply don’t have and won’t ever have.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have to agree, wouldn’t it also add unneeded costs to re-badge them as Chryslers? Just sell the Alfas in Chrysler dealerships and be done with it. Chrysler only offers something like three models at this point, so keep 300/200 as your ‘upscale’ sedans, the T&C as a profit center, and Alfa coupes as ‘fun’ rides. Don’t even bother with an Alfa sedan, just bring over a coupe or two… maybe a roadster and something bigger, midsize or a PLC.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Because red sports cars and family sedans with pudenda for bumpers give you a bone?

        Get real. Alfa’s over. Chrysler’s got something America wants right now– and to mess with this(minor, I’ll admit– but I’ll never pretend to be mystified by their success like ya’ll) is to have the whole group go up in flames.

        I realize the italians pretend to have balls– but even they know this.

        Mopar or no car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Chrysler’s got something America wants right now”

        Dart aside, which is what exactly?

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Don’t know, don’t care. 29 months of sales increases mean I don’t have to. They’re doing it pretty well without me being able to spout-off high and low points.

        I only watch from the stands– the dirt and work is for those with skin in the game. Tell me– what exactly do you gain by perpetuating Chrysler’s whipping-child status?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Chrysler sold 107,577 trucks and only 40,895 cars in August. 3,000 were projected by Chrysler to be new Dodge Darts, while Fiat sold 4,150 little 500s.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “what exactly do you gain by perpetuating Chrysler’s whipping-child status?”

        To the contrary I see the Dart as a smart move and despite styling I personally don’t care for the 300 sells well, many say the new JGC is an excellent buy in the segment. I just think it’s important to keep such success in perspective with their colossal failures in the past twenty years. Chrysler has been the masochist’s best buy in the used market for my adult life (trannys, compressors, and oil sludge, oh my!), maybe that’s to change. I’m not a fan of leasing and I don’t think the car should explode just after the warranty period expires, and thus I would never buy VW/Mercedes/BMW/JLR and Chrysler prior to 2010. Maybe now though they have found their groove, here’s hoping.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      Alfa does not currently have any models that compete with Chyrsler models

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Who here thinks that Chrysler needs more brands? The Graduate was a great movie, and all, but what does Alfa Romeo even mean in the US today? Expensive, less reliable Fiat? Convertible that can’t hold a candle to Miata? Overpriced European sedan that will never be a BMW? Jeep Liberty with style?

    As someone who practically grew up in a 1750 duetto spyder, I’m not interested.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      In case you haven’t noticed, overpriced, unreliable european cars is precisely what the consumers want.

      If everyone wanted cheap, reliable transportation, we’d all be driving Yaris’s

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Or, in the real world– the public would be snapping up mid-priced redesigned Sebrings at quite a clipping pace.

        If Sergio replaces 200 too soon, all of this upward trajectory will be lost. Mark my words.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yari are too small, think Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        No. Consumers like the BMW, Audi, and Mercedes brands and appear to be willing to pay more for the upscale image, but I would bet that most consumers would prefer fewer unscheduled visits to the dealership. Time is expensive at that end of the car market.

        Ford demonstrated with Jaguar X and J series that consumers will not pay luxury car prices for a car that shows it’s cost reduced roots even if the brand is right. I can’t imagine that Alfa Romero could command BMW prices while being sold next to Chryslers or Fiats.

  • avatar
    adrianpask

    I’m a Brit living in the USA who had an Alfa for 6 years and 120k miles…..i am crossing every available body part to generate enough good luck to get these gorgeous cars into this country of bland blocky boring BLAH-type cars !!!

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      I could take the time to write a reasonable, thoughtful rebuttal concerning your suggestive stylistic sensibilities, but it would be lost in a wave of Euro-phillic nonsense about Passion and Soul. As someone who has actually wandered around “The Brit” I can tell you there is wayyyy more variety in any given major US metropolis that all of that stylistic barren wasteland of an Isle.

      You may not like it, but I see, almost every day, examples of everything from late 60′s Muscle to 70′s Pimptastic, 80′s fledgeling Economy to 90′s awful drek. Domestic design varies even among the Big 3 across the last 40 years, and it’s peppered with examples of both successful (and failed) import flavor all around. All of this largely driven by the fact that if you can pass emissions (a trivial ordeal in most states) you can legally drive it.

      I am greatly saddened that Alfa is in trouble (again…) but they’ve been botching this for the better part of the last decade. And no matter how hard I cry, they will likely never bring a 159 over here. If you really want them to succeed, place a pre-order on a 4C – or better yet, a new Viper – and put your money where your mouth and heart seem to be.

      • 0 avatar
        adrianpask

        Love this !!!! Hey let’s club together and get a 4C on time share!

        I don’t believe you can even get the 159 in the UK – it’s the awesome Guileta all the way these days. I had a GT; in diesel. It would do 70 in 7.6s and still get 48mpg on the highway at 80mph, and looked frikkin cool!

        I love living in the USA and i love cars and i live in the mid-west. I feel like i’m in a drivers purgatory with ice-wrecked roads and one hill or bend every 1000 miles! I totally understand how ‘straight line’ cars rule the road here at the expense of style, handling, or gas consumption…these are all things best left to European manufacturers to handle with finesse and style.

        I look forward to the Mustang getting proper rear suspension and a European launch – then the fun and games will start!

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Brits simply don’t understand modern auto engineering. All style, with no substance. As a result, even Brits themselves don’t buy their own expensive and unrealiable pieces of crap. Most previous British brands had to be sold to foreign owners. RR/Bentley is a lucky exception. The other brands, such as Jaguar/LR/Rover, are now owned by India and China.

      • 0 avatar

        wsn,

        Rolls-Royce is owned by BMW. Bentley is owned by VW. It’s possible that Morgan is the only British car company that’s still British owned.

      • 0 avatar
        adrianpask

        ha ha ha ha ha ha funniest post ever. Our car industry was killed by crappy trade union relationships in the 70′s. At least one of the American big guns should have died in the last 2 years if it wasn’t for bail-outs from the government.

        When Forbes compiled the worst cars on the road report based on Consumer Reports all but 3 of the cars on the list were American made. Seemingly the criteria of ‘really big, lots of cup holders, guzzles gas’ is not good criteria for a great car. I know, I was surprised.

        I don’t need to understand how my trainers are made to enjoy running in them, i don’t need to understand aerodynamics to enjoy flying, i don’t need to understand brewing to love great beer, and i don’t need to understand auto engineering to enjoy great cars.

        http://www.autoblog.com/2011/04/27/forbes-releases-2011-worst-cars-on-the-road-list/

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        Forbes is hardly a credible source on what makes a good vehicle. The Wrangler is a runaway sales sucess, so clearly the buying public doesn’t agree – they also said it was a poor “value”. Hmm…is this the same Wrangler that consistently wins “best resale value” awards time after time? Sorry, but Forbes has no credibility in this area – you don’t read Motor Trend for investment tips, do you?

      • 0 avatar
        moedaman

        “adrianpask
        and i don’t need to understand auto engineering to enjoy great cars.”

        Apparently most englishmen are like you, since the british auto industry is owned by foreign corporations.

    • 0 avatar
      adrianpask

      I guess you didn’t read the bit where i said that Forbes was just publishing the output of 6 different Consumer Reports surveys either?

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        You are aware, Adrian– that it is possible to make a point, and not look like an insufferable dick. Exercise that knowledge.

        A spoonful of your own medicine:
        I guess you didn’t comprehend the bit where some people(read: most-all) can’t afford great and, yet– almost miraculously– they still manage to love(and know an awful lot about) their automobiles. You of the TTAC-AWESOME-CARZ-R-FULL-OF-WIN-FOR-THE-WIN Brigade™ will find your way off their backs.

        You believe– and it comes through your writing crystal-fucking-clear– that anyone which chooses differently than you– is feeble-minded and needs to be saved. Guess what? They don’t.

        I looked into your awesome Alfa Guileta; and found nothing. You’re, apparently– not good enough for great spelling. Though that is immaterial, and I’ll go you once more: the ‘great’ vehicle performance numbers you listed above– were met by the 1995 neon, dude.

    • 0 avatar
      adrianpask

      moedaman

      Did you know that in 2009 the Federal Government gave 2 of the big 3 US Auto manufacturers a total of $24.9b of our tax money to stop them from going bankrupt?

      $17.4b for Chrysler + GM, $6b for GMAC, $1.5b for Chrysler Financial.

      You can throw rocks at the UK car industry and be aware that you’re stood in a glasshouse….and it’s a glasshouse that’s looking very weak these days.

      p.s. you’re absolutely right – as a Brit living in the US i am entirely representative of 67m people.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It would be a mess with the dealers but Chrysler needs to put all their vehicles under one roof (lot). Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Fiat, and Alfa all at one dealer.

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    Alfa Romeo’s delayed US launch is the quintessential dog bites man story.

    But let’s hope the public statement from Volkswagen a few days ago that its buying spree was now over was not a sign that it had just managed to acquire Alfa…

  • avatar

    Am I the only person who read the article, noticed 500k projected sales versus 132k sales last year, and recoiled in shock? Ouch. That’s pretty high expectations.

    I’d certainly like to see the brand succeed, but I’d also love to know what Fiat’s marketing people are smoking ..

    D

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    I’m no Chrysler or Alfa fan, but whenever I’m in Europe, I see some sweet looking Alfa hatchbacks. If I could get one in the US, it would be on my list of possibilities.

  • avatar
    8rings

    Chrysler dealers selling Alfas? Remember what happened when Cadillac salesmen tried to sell Saabs?

  • avatar

    As , the current driver of an 87 quad and a 164S, with a detailed knowledge of Fiat’s last foray into these shores, I believe that they will never get it right here. On behalf of numerous dealers, in 1986, it was impossible to convince the genius class at Fiat that they really needed an automatic trans in the Spider and Milano = that took 3 years for the Milano, and 7 for the Spider, and then they were outdated 3 speed pieces of crap – because the Fiat people knew best.

    Apparently what they knew best was how to steal Chrysler from an idiotic administration and milk it to prop up their failing virtual monopoly in the old country, which is devastated by actual competition.

    Witness the Dart launch, 80′s revisited, with a manual heavy mix. Just another sign of Milanese Myopia -

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Shouldn’t Fiat be focusing on getting the Fiat brand steady in the market before rushing into bringing Alpha out? Yes, it would be nice to have Alphas here but the Fiat brand, with one model is not properly established yet.
    Fiat should put the Punto, their mad mini van and that indestructible Strada mini truck on the market first before deluging Americans with another little understood brand.

  • avatar
    itsnotagsr

    I think Alfa has a place in the current market. If they can get the reliability right (some say VW hasn’t), there is a market for design driven cars. The current crop of junior executive cars are relatively bland. Inject good design, handling and RWD and you can have a potential winner.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    You don’t understand. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

    This is Alfa Romeo. A shambles would be a major improvement.

  • avatar
    Ion

    Alfa only sells the Mito and the Giuletta right now. They need to get their concept cars into production before they step into another market.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I can tell you Ive been waiting over a year for
    Gossett to start construction of the Fiat showroom.I have been driving past the rendering of a beautiful store with Fiat(badge on one side) and an Alfa(badge on the other I hope)and am starting to realize that Gossett is going to hold off until something makes them want to start construction.
    Not a good beginning for the 500..being scattered here and there in their other stores..kinda like Suzuki.
    Memphis supported lots of European makes over the years(a lot of bad ones)but I just cant see the commitment from the them for the Fiat or Alfa brand.Truly a Bad launch for the 500 in Memphis (a banner over the old used car lot “Gossett Fiat” and now that even looks kinda tired.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    Well perhaps Sergio needs to delegate some authority regarding brand launching,hey Sergio,I’m available.As for FIAT-Chrysler sporting too many brands, no one ever mentions St.VW,Of The Many Degrees Of Reliability.It sells 10 brands,five of which appear to be as interchangeable as the Big Three’s decades long badge & grille fest. As for FIAT,in the urban Los Angeles area,the 500 has become an increasingly frequent presence,unlike the non-existent iQ,or the always weak selling SMART. A plurality of the drivers do appear to be neither gay(Uh,I’d know-I get around,O.K.?),nor does the female demo look as if it consists solely of women named Ambyr,or Dakotuh. Speaking of Suzuki,did ya know that in California,its dealer sales network is currently a whopping 40% greater than that of Bugatti’s? Just in case anyone was cross-shopping the two.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      A key difference between VW and FIAT? The former keeps investing in product development throughout the downturns in the economy, the latter keeps cutting back and starving the product pipeline. Without new products, you really cannot support a broad brand portfolio.


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