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Ambitious Alfa Romeo Launches U.S. Comeback

Big plans hinge on the success of one small car.

by on Jun.13, 2014

Alfa Romeo's got big plans for a comeback in the U.S. starting with the new 4C two-seater.

It may be a small car but there’s a lot riding on the upcoming launch of the new Alfa Romeo 4C. Marking the brand’s return to the U.S. market after a two-decade absence, the success – or failure – of the two-seat sports car could determine whether the Alfa brand can pull off its ambitious global comeback strategy.

The once-grand marque has become an insignificant player in recent years, but parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has approved a 5 billion Euro product development plan that will yield a broad assortment of new models during the next half decade. But as the first offering to reach Alfa’s new U.S. dealer network, it will serve as the foundation for that planned revival, which is expected to see Alfa selling 100,000 cars a year in the U.S. annually before the end of the decade.

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“It’s crucial,” Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester told during a media driving event in San Francisco. “This is the reincarnation of what Alfa stood for in the past,” and what one industry observer described as the “glowing neon sign” that signals what the brand hopes to be in the years ahead. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Lays Out Broad Growth Plan

All-encompassing blueprint shows the way to 2018.

by on May.06, 2014

A worker puts the finishing touch on the new FCA sign at the company's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, this morning.

With a veiled reference to the disastrous, failed alliance that nearly destroyed Chrysler during the recent recession, CEO Sergio Marchionne and his management team laid out a broad and ambitious plan for the U.S. maker and its Italian partner, Fiat, that will see the newly merged company roll out a flood of new products during the next five years.

Following up on a day-long session in late 2009, after Fiat first came to Chrysler’s rescue, the new Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) detailed its next five-year plan, outlining a strategy that will see it try to sharpen the focus of each of its many brands. In most cases, that will mean adding a number of new products, though in some cases, key brands like Dodge will actually reduce their line-ups to eliminate models that don’t fit their image.

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With several hundred investment analysts and an equal number of journalists in the audience, Marchionne’s clear intent was to show that Fiat Chrysler, currently the world’s seventh-largest automotive manufacturer, is well-positioned to challenge rivals ranging from Toyota to Ford, General Motors to Volkswagen, in an increasingly competitive market. (more…)

Alfa’s non-Demise in U.S. Greatly Exaggerated

It is no go for Alfa Romeo, at least for a while, says Marchionne.

by on Jan.14, 2010

Later, rather than sooner, for Alfa in the U.S.

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive officer of Fiat and Chrysler, said one of Fiat’s key reasons for teaming up with the ailing Chrysler Group LLC was to allow the Italian automaker to return to the U.S. market after decades of absence.

“You’ll start to see the first Fiat cars in the United States late this year, Marchionne told the Automotive News World Congress, which is held this week in Detroit immediately after the North American International Auto Show.

However, when a member of the audience asked him about the long-rumored return of Alfa Romeo brand to the US, Marchionne indicated he was not in all that much of a hurry.


“I’ve told them they have to earn it,” said Marchionne.

Marchionne said Alfa has to be successful in its primary markets in Europe before it can begin dreaming about selling cars once again in the U.S.

In the interim, Marchionne is focused on the Chrysler business.