• Dec 12, 2007

Alfa Romeo isn't kidding around about its return to the US market: Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed that Alfa is planning to open a factory in the United States.

Citing the drop in the US dollar against the Euro as a principal motivating factor, Marchionne said that manufacturing cars in America was vital to the profitability of Alfa's stateside venture. The Canadian-Italian industrialist anticipated that Alfa would only begin making a profit after three or four years in the US.

This won't be the first time a Fiat division has manufactured in the United States. In 1909 the Italian automaker inaugurated a plant in Poughkeepsie in upstate New York which it closed a decade later.

Meanwhile, industry sources indicate that Alfa's main factory at Pomigliano d'Arco in southern Italy will close for two months beginning in January as a last-ditch effort to get Alfa Romeo build quality up to spec or else face complete closure.

[Source: Automotive News (sub. req.) via Italiaspeed]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      America as the low-cost labor country of the world. Ha! Do we hear any Europeans bemoaning the "giant sucking sound" coming from across the Atlantic?
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's not that labor costs lest here, its that the dollar is so weak the cost of importing cars and then selling them for American prices wouldn't make them any money. So if the parts are American and the materials are bought on the American market, prices will be more favorable for the car company.

        If a bottle of coke costs one dollar to make here and 1.25 to buy, and one euro in france to make and 1.25 euros to buy(just estimates), they wouldn't make any money on the european coke sold in the states. They would be making it for 1.4 dollars and getting 1.25 back. therefore loosing money.

        Even if labor costs a little more here, its probably not going to outweigh the weakness in the dollar.

        Thanks president bush for making it more affordable for european companies to sell cars in the US.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great to see Alfies back.
      ps: If anyone has an extra 300K laying around, that'd be great. I'm loving the new 8C Comp!! It's said to be the best supercar built to date. Although, I read that all 500 being made are already spoken for. But I'd take the cash anyway guys. Thanks~
        • 7 Years Ago
        Gah, my reply to you is down there.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Not that into the 8C Comp', but loving the news. I've wanted an Alfa for years.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You're an asshole.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A few thoughts on the return of Alfa:

      Alfa MUST MUST MUST bring more of a product line than simply the 8C, which is incredibly sexy but isn’t enough to build the brand back up. Bring over the 159, a bigger sedan, the Spider, etc. They need to have a real offering, not just a high-end sports car, at introduction.

      Alfa MUST MUST MUST improve the reputation for reliability. I have no idea what the cars are like now, but at the time of departure, Alfas had horrible reputations in the United States. The 164 was plagued problems, and a lot of Milanos the decade before were as well. Americans will pay a premium for a great car, but the expectations for reliability are high. Alfa has to assure the public that it has its act together.

      Alfa must price the cars aggressively. The brand has been out of the public eye for a decade. The temptation will be to go very premium, I’m sure. There simply aren’t enough people at this moment willing to buy an unknown car at too high a price, at least for the volume models (like the 159).

      Alfa must set the standard for service. With concerns about Italian cars’ reliability, if Alfa can position itself as being incredibly customer friendly, responsive, etc., it will help ease concerns about reliability. If you know your car will be dealt with properly, it will help you forgive a fair number of flaws .

      I love the idea of Alfa Romeo returning, and I very much want it to work. I have thought the 159 sedan was gorgeous and unique since its introduction – so much more interesting than a 3 Series. I hope they do this right, because I do see Alfa as a car company that can be successful in the United States.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Poughkeepsie? Hmmmm.
      JonnyB82
      • 7 Years Ago
      There's several available manufacturing plants in Moline/Rock Island, IL that Alfa could look into, with easy access to the Mississippi River, as well as the midwestern railroad system.
      • 7 Years Ago
      At first glance I thought I was looking at The Alamo, and we all know what happened there. Alpha Romeo had better bring more quality to the table than what they were serving up before they exited the U.S. market many years ago.
      Carlos
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is great news, because we all know that even though Alfas are extremely beautiful they have the almost no reliability and they're retardedly expensive to fix.

      No thanks
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Carlos
        a hint from an Italian who has owned the same Alfa for 4 years:
        they are better at reliability today than you could immagine,
        stereotypes are Alfa's and Fiat's worst enemies.

        After buying my 147 I had to open my wallet again only for a new front lightbulb and winter tires.

        But anyways, want great reliability? get a grey, boring Toyota or Honda. Alfas are for people who enjoy driving and don't do it just to get from point A to B.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm ok with Alfas coming to the US but dont try to fool me into thinking that Alfa is a BMW or Benz alternative...at the most its an VW alternative...over 100K for an Alfa Romeo you got to be kidding me....
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm filling out my resume as we speak...
      • 7 Years Ago
      They are welcome to come to Charlotte. I'd be happy to see new Alfa's running the roads of the US again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Alfa coming back to America...and Maybe VW too.

      This is no surprise and makes perfect sense as the American dollar, along with domestic automobile sales, continues to drop.

      Fiat has been a dominating force in most of the automobile world but has never caught on as anything more than a automobile afficianado type vehicle in the states (especially under the Alfa banner). I think this could change if the company would produce vehicles in the U.S.A., thus bringing the price point down.

      Volkswagen (now 31% owned by Porsche) could certainly use the advantage of a U.S. built line and would have a fighting good chance to become a dominant U.S. seller with the price decrease per model that this would bring.

      Combine this with a plant in Oxford or Anniston, Alabama area or some rural portion of North Mississippi or Georgia, and this could be a true gold mine move. The lower cost of the Alabama work force has definately worked for Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai, who all have major plants there. And, remember, Anniston, Alabama has that entire closed military base available that is not really be marketed but would make a great automobile manufacturing location- especially since some parts and contents suppliers are already based there.

      Not to mention the fact that some of the best testing facilities are located in the same area; Barber Motorsports Park and Talladega Super Speedway.

      I think Fiat and Volkswagen are both on the right track.

      Will Estell is a freelance auto journalist and professed euro car fan. He resides in Oxford, AL.
      He can be reached at will@pro-mediagroup.com
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