According to an unnamed source, it has been confirmed (as of this writing) that Fiat dealerships in the United States will begin selling the long-awaited Alfa Romeo lineup of vehicles in December. The first vehicle to arrive from Italy is the (also) long-awaited Alfa Romeo 4C sports car, with styling cues taken from its bigger brother, the 8C Competizione.
The relaunch of Alfa Romeo is an on-again, off-again affair that has been going on for years now, with the Italian brand leaving our shores for good back in 1995. Originally, Fiat had announced that Alfa was going to be sold alongside Cadillac and Saabs, during their ill-fated partnership with General Motors. After their partnership ultimately fell through, Fiat “continued” on with plans to re-launch Alfa in the United States, but eventually rescinded the relaunch indefinitely.
Within a year’s time, Fiat once again had announced that Alfa will be launching in the States, as soon as 2007…but when the time came and went, there were no Italian cars to be seen. After additional rumors popped up over the years, one including selling Alfas alongside BMW, Fiat finally offered the 8C Competizione, albeit in small numbers. This was to re-introduce the brand to Americans, part of a strategy that was to include a full lineup of Alfa vehicles, but ultimately, those plans kept getting delayed until this year.
During this time, Fiat had brought the Cinquecento to America, renaming it the 500. Although it exceeded sales expectations, arriving to 40,000 units faster than its main rival Mini (a division of BMW), as well as upstart Kia Motors America, dealers knew that they would need additional product to keep the momentum going, as well as to expand their monthly sales beyond the 500 subcompact hatchback and the newly-arrived 500L small multi-purpose vehicle (itself based on the Fiat Multipla, only sharing the “500” name with the hatchback).
It is expected that Alfa Romeo will eventually bring the majority of the sales to the Fiat dealerships, as their namesake is expected to only cover the entry-level arena. Of course, Fiat has the upper-end of the automotive spectrum covered with both Ferrari and Maserati, itself undergoing a global expansion strategy to 50,000 units by 2015, with the launch of the Ghibli mid-sized sedan, as well as the rumored Levante SUV and sub-GranTurismo sports car rival to the Porsche 911.