After having being introduced way back in 1998, Alfa Romeo finally stopped production of the 166 last year. Now without a flagship sedan to hold up the top of the range, Alfa is working on the development of its successor. However, the 169 (as the model is expected to be called) has been pushed back at least another three years while the automaker tries to sort out which platform it will be based on.

With an eye towards the American market, Alfa is said to be committed to making the new 169 a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, but the only rear-drive platform the Milanese automaker has in its range belongs to the 8C Competizione, which CEO Luca de Meo recently rejected as a possible donor for the 169. (Rats.) The platform that underpins sister-company Maserati's Quattroporte and GranTurismo was likewise dismissed as too costly, as Alfa Romeo looks to other automakers – chief among them Jaguar, now owned by the Fiat Group's Indian ally Tata – for a suitable rear-drive platform for Alfa's new flagship sedan.

In related news from the other end of the range, the upcoming 149, which – along with the new MiTo – will replace the aging 147, is reportedly getting a brand new platform of its own. The reports contradict earlier suggestions that the five-door hatch would be based on the Fiat Bravo platform when the new 149 is introduced in 2009.

[Source: AutoTelegraaf via Motor Authority]