The worsening global financial crisis has forced Fiat to postpone two major targets it had planned for its Alfa Romeo brand in 2010 – a U.S. relaunch and reaching 300,000 sales in China. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed that Alfa Romeo won't return to American shores in 2010 as originally planned, but will instead arrive one year later. Marchionne explained his decision to the press, stating that right now it would be "crazy investing in such a depressed U.S. market".
This will be the second postponement of Alfa Romeo's relaunch into the U.S. market, already having been pushed back from a 2009 date. This being the case, if market conditions are not favorable in 2011 then it is conceivable that the launch could be postponed again, reports Automotive News
Despite the grim news, there will be at least one new Alfa Romeo model in showrooms next year. The car is the highly exclusive and expensive 8C Competizione supercar, which officially went on pre-order sale this month
. Unfortunately, all 84 examples reserved for the U.S. have been accounted for but a Spider convertible version of the car will be available next year.
Poor market conditions have not only affected Alfa Romeo’s U.S. plans, as the Chinese market is also proving to be less successful than predicted. At one point Alfa Romeo had set itself a 2010 sales target of 300,000 units in the Chinese market, however this has now been revised to just one-sixth of its original size.
Alfa Romeo is currently importing vehicles produced in Italy and Turkey into China, and high transportation costs mean that each vehicle is sold for a loss. To combat this the manufacturer is in negotiations with local manufacturers in China to produce its cars and cut down on shipping costs, with rumors of a deal between Fiat and Guangzhou Automobile circulating.
Fiat is also in talks with Chinese automotive giant Chery Automobiles to produce the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan, as well as a replacement for the 147 in Europe however concrete details are still scarce.
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider
First drive: Alfa Romeo 8c