The rocky road that is Alfa Romeo's return to the United States has taken yet another twist, as rumors are sprouting that the sleek, new 4C sports car will follow in the footsteps of the 8C Competizione and go on sale at Maserati dealerships. The 8C was sold exclusively at Maserati dealers in the US from 2008 to 2010.
The original understanding regarding the 4C's launch, which was reinforced by Chrysler's vice president of network development and fleet, Peter Grady, at the North American Dealers Association earlier this year, was that Fiat dealers would be selling the 1,500 4Cs coming to the US in 2014. Grady went so far as saying, "It's going to go to the current Fiat dealers that are performing," according to Automotive News. Sounds pretty unequivocal to us.
Last week, though, Alfa Romeo's CEO, Harald Wester, who also happens to be the Chief Technical Officer for Fiat-Chrysler, told AN that, "Most likely, the Alfa 4C will be sold in the US through the Maserati network." That's confusing, not only because it contradicts Grady's earlier statements, but because the whole point of launching Fiat first was to make the Italian conglomerate's learning curve a bit gentler for when it did finally relaunch Alfa Romeo, and to give it an established network of dealers to distribute from - there are 69 Maserati showrooms spread across the US, compared to Fiat's 209.
The rumors have a number of Fiat dealers understandably concerned, with Gary Brown, the owner of a Fiat dealership and chairman of Chrysler's dealer association, telling AN, "We might have to think about how our future's going to be as Fiat dealers."