Alfa Romeo to return to North America by 2012

Looks like the big Alpha will be rolling again in the US and Canada in 2012. This is really big news for Chrysler/Fiat and the dealers that get to sell these attractive cars. Look for sleek styling and hopefully top notch quality that could bring in buyers who want the right pricing with as much style as they can afford. Good to see Alpha Romeo coming back to the states!

From AutoGuide.com:

According to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, his company’s stylish Alfa Romeo brand will return to North America in the next 24 months, meaning that models should be on sale in 2012. “I’m a lot more confident now that Alfa Romeo will reconstitute a product offering that is acceptable globally, and more in particular in the United States and Canada,” said Marchionne to Automotive News.

Read the full article here.

  

Marchionne says Chrysler will be profitable by 2011

The buzz around Chrysler has been very negative, so it’s rather surprising to here CEO Sergio Marchionne express such confidence about the prospects for the company.

After a four-month deep dive into the workings of Chrysler Group LLC, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne remains convinced the automaker can be profitable in two years.

The Auburn Hills automaker is on track to divulge its five-year plan on Nov. 4, to make public its quarterly financial statements next year and to offer public stock as early as 2011, he said.

A recent report by analyst Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley supports Marchionne’s forecast. Jonas said Chrysler could report an operating profit of $841 million in 2010, but end the year with a net loss of $169 million. Full profitability is expected in 2011: $2.48 billion in operating profit and $952 million in net income, Jonas said.

In an interview with Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Marchionne affirmed Thursday that the automaker could reach profitability in 24 months. Just a week before, the CEO contended that “we’re not bleeding as people think we are,” noting that “the level of cost consciousness at this house is probably at a historical high.”

Some had been speculating that Chrysler might not make it another year given its challenges in the market. Marchionne had fueled some of the negative speculation when he said in September that the situation at Chrysler was “worse than we thought.”

Marchionne has an incredible track record as a turnaround specialist, but Chrysler will present the ultimate challenge. The acquisition could be a stroke of genius, as Fiat paid nothing and now owns 20% of the company with full control in exchange for the contribution of small-car technology. Fiat dominates with small cars and this offer it the opportunity to return to America. They also have Alfa Romeo which presents an upscale brand.

That said, it was reported recently that there would be a new push to turn Chrysler into an upscale brand positioned a notch above Lincoln and Cadillac. As noted by many analysts, that seems like a real stretch. Chrysler is a mess, so now consumers are supposed to start paying a premium for their cars?

In any event, it’s refreshing to hear some optimism coming from Marchionne. Hopefully he can back it up.

  

Fiat will bring an Alfa Romeo to Chrysler showrooms next year

alfa-romeo-mito

Fiat has already announced that they will bring the Fiat 500 to Chrysler showrooms in the U.S. in 2010, and now they’ve announced that the Alfa Romeo MiTo will also be available in America next year.

“The MiTo is going to help us re-establish the Alfa brand in the United States,” said Richard Gadeselli, vice president for communications of the Fiat Group, in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters here.

Though Alfa Romeo left the American market in 1995, the MiTo hatchback will not really be the first new Alfa to appear in the United States since then. The 8C Competizione and Spider have been available through select Ferrari and Maserati dealers since last year. Considering the stratospheric prices of the limited-edition, hand-built 8C, the MiTo will be the first new Alfa intended for general audiences.

Both the MiTo and the 500 will be sold at Chrysler — not Ferrari — dealerships, though they will still wear Alfa and Fiat badges. American-market prices have not been announced, but $20,000 or so seems likely for the MiTo and mid-teens for the 500.

The new Alfa is aimed at “an active, thrill-seeking, performance-minded 20-something.”

I think this is a great move by Fiat. The Fiat 500 and the MiTo will give Chrysler dealerships hip vehicles that appeal to younger drivers who like the Mini Cooper and other small imports. The marketing campaign should be fun to watch.

  

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