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Old 09-19-2011, 06:10 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Alfa's latest delay spooks Fiat dealers

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Another delay in Alfa Romeo's scheduled return to the United States has surprised and disappointed Fiat dealers counting on the sporty Italian cars to bolster their new franchise.

Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester said last week that three of the brand's U.S.-bound models will be delayed and a fourth will be canceled.
Fiat's 130 U.S. dealers never were explicitly promised Alfa models as part of the Fiat franchise. But Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told them in August 2010 they were likely to get the brand.

Alfa Romeo would provide sporty premium vehicles to augment the dealers' only current offerings: coupe and 500C convertible versions of the Fiat 500.
"Right now I'm pretty disappointed because I have a pretty big investment in Fiat," said Carl Galeana, owner of Fiat of Lakeside in suburban Detroit and a member of the Fiat Advisory Committee, the dealer council. "I built my store predicated on the fact there would be more than Fiat."

The CEO of a large dealership group that owns a Fiat store said: "This delay is not positive for dealers who have invested and committed to the Fiat franchise." The executive asked not to be named.

Galeana said Fiat officials had not said anything to dealers about the latest holdup.

Alfa Romeo is the second stage of Fiat Group's strategy to relaunch its Italian auto brands in the United States. Fiat began selling 500s in March, and Alfa vehicles were to have arrived in late 2012.

Most Fiat dealers also have Chrysler dealerships, but Fiat required the dealers to apply for a separate franchise agreement. They were allowed to build temporary facilities in their existing Chrysler stores but were required to erect separate, permanent facilities by the end of 2012, when Alfa was originally scheduled to arrive.

Fiat has 102 stores open in the United States, and 28 more are scheduled to open before year end.

Many dealers say they were counting on Alfa to broaden their range of offerings to include cars that would compete with European luxury makes.
New target: 2014

Alfa Romeo's Giulia mid-sized sedan and wagon, originally scheduled to arrive in 2012, will not arrive until 2014, Wester now says. The Giulia was perhaps the most eagerly awaited model because it would compete against sedans such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 series.

Also delayed were the Spider two-seat roadster, moved from 2013 to 2014, and a compact SUV that will share the Jeep Compass platform, moved from 2012 to 2013.

The timing of three other vehicles is unchanged: the MiTo subcompact and the 4-C two-seat coupe are due in 2013, and the Giulietta compact is scheduled for 2014. Wester last week introduced a new car to the plan: a large, rear-wheel-drive sedan that will arrive some time after 2014. It will be based on next-generation Maserati Quattroporte.

Plans for a mid-sized SUV to have been built at Chrysler's Toledo, Ohio, assembly plant, alongside the Jeep Liberty, have been canceled. It had been expected in 2014.

Some retailers brushed aside the latest news.
Louis Perez, lead salesperson at Fiat of Portland in Maine, said he was too busy getting his store ready for its Sept. 16 opening to give much thought to Alfa Romeo.

"Most of my customers are just happy with what we have," he said. "Fiat is a stand-alone vehicle anyway, and it works out well. We'll have an Abarth coming," he said, referring to the sporty Fiat 500 model due to arrive early next year.

Lisa Copeland, general manager of Fiat of Austin in Texas, says her customers are focused on Fiat. She has been stampeded with customers wanting to know when they can buy the Abarth.

Copeland said she has taken Abarth deposits from 77 customers.
"The Abarth is going to carry us the whole year," said Copeland, who has been one of the top-selling U.S. Fiat dealers. She also is a member of the dealer council.

Alfa Romeo was last sold in the United States in 1995. Plans to return have been delayed repeatedly since 2000, when Alfa's parent, Fiat, signed a strategic alliance with General Motors.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:08 PM   #2
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While the current Alfas are pretty, it'll take more than nice Italian styling to compete with any real volume.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:11 AM   #3
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Dear Alfa .... you have been killing me for years !
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:37 AM   #4
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This is the same story we were reading on the Alfa Forum year after year.
When the time comes, it probably will be an Alfa Montreal for me..
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:36 AM   #5
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I just pray that the alfas the finally bring us will be worth driving. CAFE will no doubt put a real damper on the driving fun, and we will get a fiat appliance with a nice alfa body that has no real spirit in it. Good looks but boring to drive are not what Alfa is all about.

Italiano, My family is from Sicily, and if they do not give us a good Alfa to buy, then I say we revolt and go pick up a couple of these..

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Old 09-20-2011, 03:23 PM   #6
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Scrappy ~ Sounds good to me !!


p.s. .... My whole family is in Bari
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:24 PM   #7
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So CAFE is responsible for a car that doesn't exist based on a car from thirty years sold by a manufacturer that hasn't been in the US for twenty years?

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Old 09-20-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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Well duh!

Look making cars get a fleet average of over 36 mpg in the near future is without a doubt going to neuter most cars as we know it. God aweful CVT's will be more commonplace and very small displacement turbos. A few shreds of light will make it through, but for the most part a repeat of the 70's downturn of cars is coming. Perhaps not to that scale but it is coming. The chances of a nice alfa V6 in a compact sedan hitting our shores are next to ZERO now. Where before the CAFE regulations hit, we could have hoped for it.

Look most people will not care, and driving a car the size of a ford fusion with a 3 cylinder engine does not bother them. That is fine and I get that. I could care less for those automotive still borns. But for the enthusiast who craves the sights and sounds and feel of something built with more than mpg on the brain, the gene pool will be thin in the coming years.

If even for a second you think CAFE has not had a huge impact on the Alfas that will get brought here then you are simply in denial.

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Old 09-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #9
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CAFE will still allow 'fun' cars. It still allows big engines. It's all about averages.

The cars that folks like you, or I, buy will still be available. Limited numbers produced (to keep fleet averages up) will cause price increases on niche vehicles, but that's really not too much different than today's premiums the same.

Won't Alfas be grouped in with the rest of the Chyrslers and Fiats? That should leave enough CAFE headroom to keep the low volume, premium priced Alfas still fun to drive.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:16 PM   #10
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In a perfect world you are right. But throw all that out the window when they have to try to meet 55+ MPG target looming on the horizon.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
This is the same story we were reading on the Alfa Forum year after year.
When the time comes, it probably will be an Alfa Montreal for me..


They've been saying it every year this century.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:10 AM   #12
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Yes, and with every year that passes, when you look at their offerings in Europe..
Of course there are top of the line cars that are nothing short of amazing. Those sell for Ferrari-type money. But that's not where the problem is. Those are currently for sale in the US, like the Alfa 8C, which the article forgets to mention..
Also there were and will continue to be Zagato specials and Autodelta specials.
But your common car started to get engines in which Alfa only develops the heads, and the short block was not even Italian.
The performances of the V6 were great back in 1991: I used to have an Alfa 164, it had 184BHP at a time at which a Mustang had close to 200.
These days, the 24 valve V6 did not go up in power to be 20 HP lower than the current Mustang. Now I see they retired it completely.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:31 AM   #13
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I'm not clear on how they plan to position Alfa if it comes here again. Seems to me it should go up against BMW in terms of offering the driving experience.

The last Alfa I had experience with was a 156 Sportwagon in France. Green over green but very tasteful.
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