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Europeans should be dancing in their nearest piazza, as Alfa Romeo is ditching its front-drive MiTo and Giulietta to return to its rear-drive roots, according to a report from the UK's Car. The switch is expected to happen in 2015, and is meant to bring Alfa Romeo closer to Maserati.

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Sergio Marchionne and his Fiat empire have a lot riding on the US return of the Alfa Romeo brand. The endeavor has been in progress for what feels like a lifetime – certainly for as long as Fiat has had the Chrysler brand under its Italian wing.

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Alfa Romeos were meant to be on sale here after summer, but we all know that's not happening. Nevertheless, lentamente, Alfa Romeo's return to the U.S. progresses. According to a story in Automotive News, Fiat was earlier this month granted the U.S. trademark for "Alfa Romeo 4C" for the car and ancillaries. We can at least take that as certain; Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's statement that the 4C will go on sale at the end of 2013 we'll take with a bit more caution.

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Like a kid forever awaiting the presence of his deadbeat dad at his birthday party, we've been promised the return of Alfa Romeo to the United States so many times that we've stopped feeling disappointed when it is invariably "postponed" again. But that numbness isn't shared by Fiat dealers across the country. Many of them are reportedly and understandably upset at the latest delay of the brand's reintroduction to America.

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Fiat has been talking seriously about bringing Alfa Romeo back to these shores since early 2000, making a decade of delays in the brand's relaunch. Most recently, the company's debut has been pushed back to sometime in 2013. To commemorate the anniversary of Fiat's colossal history of setbacks, Car and Driver put together a time table of the promised Alfa Romeo launch.

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The Alfa Romeo brand is a tough one to pin down... or perhaps it's parent company Fiat that's elusive, or maybe just CEO Sergio Marchionne that refuses to be a fixed target. New Alfa-Abarth-Maserati CEO Harald Wester has said that Alfa's long-term sales target is 500,000 vehicles by 2014. That's a mountainous 400,000-unit increase over 2009 sales, yet the route to the peak of that mountain isn't any clearer than it was in January when Alfa wasn't coming to the U.S., except that Alfa finally has

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Dang. And everything was looking so good for a return of the Alfa Romeo brand to the United States. Too bad, it seems, 'cause the latest reports indicate that the Italian purveyor of stylish automobiles such as the Brera, 159 and the drool-worthy 149 will be pushed back to 2011 at the earliest. Fortunately for the very well heeled, the Alfa 8C Competizione has been made available through an assorted group of Maserati dealerships, though it's already sold out. Such a quick sellout indicates that

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