Fiat dealers disappointed by the delay of Alfa Romeo’s return to the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 20, 2011

Fiat dealers have expressed disappointment on another delay of Alfa Romeo's scheduled return to the United States, as they are counting on the sporty Italian vehicles to boost their new franchise.

Last week, Alfa Romeo Chief Executive Officer Harald Wester announced that three of the brand's U.S.-bound vehicle models will be delayed. He also stated that another model will be canceled.

The 130 U.S. dealers of Fiat were never explicitly promised Alfa models as part of the Fiat franchise, but Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne informed them in August 2010 that they were likely to get the brand.

Alfa Romeo would provide sporty luxury vehicles to add to the dealers' only current offerings, which are the 500C convertible and coupe variants of the Fiat 500, says AutoWeek.

Carl Galeana, who owns Fiat of Lakeside in suburban Detroit, expressed his discontent, as he made a "pretty big investment" in Fiat, adding that he built his establishment predicated on the fact that there would be "more than Fiat." He also said that the officials at Fiat have not mentioned anything to dealers regarding the latest delay.

Galeana is a member of the dealer council Fiat Advisory Committee. In addition, the CEO of a large dealership group who asked anonymity and who owns a Fiat store commented that this delay is not good for dealers who have given their commitment and have invested in the Fiat franchise.

Alfa Romeo is the second stage in the strategy of Fiat Group in its relaunch of Italian vehicle brands in the United States. In March, Fiat started selling 500s, and Alfa vehicles were slated to arrive in late 2012.

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