Chrysler-Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne admitted that there is an ongoing dispute on whether Alfa Romeo vehicles will be sold through Maserati or Fiat dealers in the United States. Marchionne, however, remarked that he plans to have the “best performing” Fiat dealers have a crack at Alfa Romeo distribution in the US. The CEO’s statement is in contrast by the one given in late September by Harald Wester, the global head of Fiat’s Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands.
Wester told Automotive News in an e-mail that the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe – the model that will spearhead the brand’s return to the US -- would be sold through Maserati dealers when it arrives in 2014. Maserati has 68 dealerships in the US and all are outside of the Chrysler dealer network that includes around 210 Fiat dealerships that are also aiming to sell Alfa Romeos.
In its amended filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission concerning its initial public offering, Chrysler Group clearly stated that it has exclusive distribution rights for Alfa Romeo in the US and Canada. An earlier version stated that they “expect to sell Alfa Romeo vehicles in the US and Canada.
Wester’s statement caused an uproar among struggling Fiat dealers in the US who see future Alfa Romeo vehicles as integral to their long-term business plans. Marchionne sought to ease the concerns through comments to Fiat analysts and journalists last week, even if the dispute has yet to be resolved. He promised that future Fiat models from Europe – particularly the new 500L and the upcoming 500X -- will be rolled out to Fiat dealers in North America.