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DATE News (chronologically)
09/14/11
automotive
Alfa again delays U.S. return
Alfa Romeo has delayed the U.S. introduction of several key models by at least another year and has canceled plans to build a mid-sized SUV at Chrysler Group's factory in Toledo, Ohio.

Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester, in a presentation to financial analysts in Frankfurt on Wednesday in connection with the Frankfurt auto show, said Alfa Romeo was scaling back its global expansion plans.

Wester's announcement marks the latest in a series of delays of the U.S. return of Alfa Romeo, the sporty brand of Fiat S.p.A. His remarks came one day after Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne offered a gloomy assessment of Europe's debt crisis, saying the European common currency could come off the rails if political leaders don't resolve the lingering crisis soon.

Marchionne said the debt crisis has forced Fiat and Chrysler to examine the timing of new-vehicle introductions.

"We are reviewing volumes and the timing of new products to see when it is really necessary to launch them," Marchionne said.

In its global plan, unveiled in April 2010, Alfa Romeo planned to return to the United States in late 2012. Under the revised schedule, the first car won't come to the United States until mid-2013, when the 4C, a low-volume coupe arrives. The MiTo, a five-door hatchback, is scheduled to follow in the second half of 2013.

The Alfa Romeo brand is to be sold by a network of 130 Fiat dealerships, more than 100 of which are now open. The rest are to open by the end of this year. AutoWeek

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