Alfa Romeo’s return to U.S. delayed again

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

So, Alfa Romeo will return to the United States in 2011, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles, said Thursday. The altered goal for China in 2010 has been significantly lowered to 50,000 The planned return of the Alfa in the US was originally placed at the last quarter of 2009 and changed later to 2010.

Marchionne informed analysts that it would be simply crazy investing for returning Alfa in such depressed U.S. market. With regards to China, Fiat missed all of Marchionne's targets by a long shot.

The Italian manufacturer's last vehicle produced in China was in November 2007 when it stopped its joint project with Nanjing Automobile. Currently, Fiat is importing a few thousand cars made in Italy and Turkey, said Marchionne.

Although each car is sold at a loss, Fiat has to continue doing so to strengthen its Chinese dealer network. Marchionne thus acknowledged that the sales target of 300,000 cars for 2010 was simply unrealizable.

The Italian auto manufacturer is negotiating with Chery Automobile to structure a cooperative venture to produce the Alfa Romeo 159 premium sedan and the 940 project, which will substitute the 147 in Europe beginning in late 2009.

Fiat is also discussing with Guangzhou Automobile the possibility of creating the Fiat Linea sedan. There is information that Fiat is planning to manufacture 70,000 to 80,000 Lineas a year in a Guangzhou plant. It is noted that Guangzhou has an ongoing joint ventures with Toyota and Honda.

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