Fiat dealers irked by Alfa Romeo's delayed return to U.S.

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.

Although the lion's share of the 102 Fiat dealers that have sprung up across the country (and 28 more to come by year end) have grown out of existing Chrysler franchises, all have had to invest significantly in bringing Fiats to their showrooms. And while the 500 range has been selling well, it's the only model they have to offer. Though no explicit promises were made, many of these dealers were counting on receiving Alfa Romeo to fill their new showrooms.

Instead, the relaunch of the stoic marque has been delayed again. When it does finally arrive, the MiTo hatchback is set to lead the charge together with the 4C sportscar, followed by the Giulietta five-door hatch. The Giulia is set to replace the 159, not next year as originally planned, but in 2014. And while plans for a Jeep-based SUV have reportedly been scrapped, a new sedan is said to be in the works to succeed the long-gone 166 and share its platform with the next Maserati Quattroporte. For our part, we won't be holding our breath any longer before we just blow out the candles and get on with things.

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