REPORT: Alfa Romeo to lead American charge, Fiat 500 to go it alone

Alfa Romeo has been toying with the idea of returning to America for years, but now that Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is working from Auburn Hills, the time seems more ripe than ever as details emerge on Fiat/ Chrysler's strategy vis-a-vis the North American market. While Marchionne implements management restructuring designed to reduce Chrysler's executive hierarchy and separate its divisions into more independent units, a product strategy is rapidly being put into place to make up for lost time during the bankruptcy procedure and get the company back on track.
With Maserati and Ferrari already present in North America and Lancia offering little to entice North American buyers, the Italian side of the partnership looks poised to enter the market with Fiat and Alfa Romeo models. However, while future Chryslers, Dodges and Jeeps will share underpinnings with their Fiat and Alfa Romeo counterparts – including an Alfa GTX to be based on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee – the Fiat brand itself will have a very limited presence in the North American market, offering only the 500 retro hatchback as a stand-alone model... not unlike BMW's Mini brand. Other Fiat models will carry Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep badges, while Alfa Romeo will take the higher profile on this side of the Atlantic, offering cars under the stoic marque to compete with other European luxury brands. As the Freep points out, Chrysler and Alfa had collaborated in the early '90s to bring Alfas Stateside with limited success, but Marchionne evidently thinks it'll have better luck this time around.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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