We’ve reported extensively on Alfa Romeo’s relaunch plans for the U.S., with most recent reports suggesting the brand’s return would take place sometime in 2012, led by the stunning 4C sports car and brand new Giulia sedan. Now, people familiar with Alfa Romeo’s plans are claiming the relaunch has been pushed back to 2013 because Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is unsatisfied with the design of the new models.
Marchionne’s disappointment mostly centers on the design of the Giulia, the vehicle to replace the current Alfa Romeo 159 sold overseas and one that will be available in both sedan and wagon bodystyles. It was already set for launch in late 2012 but now that date has reportedly been pushed back to mid-2013 due to required styling changes.
Also slowing the Giulia’s gestation is the U.S. designs of the next-generation Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger, two models that will share the same Compact-Wide platform underpinning the Giulia and due in 2013. These three models will represent the core sales of the Alfa Romeo, Chrysler and Dodge brands so their development is crucial to the respective brands' future viability.
Currently on track, however, is development of a new Alfa Romeo SUV that’s scheduled to enter production at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy by the end of next year. The new SUV will be based on a modified version of the Compact platform underpinning the current Giulietta hatchback and eventually spawn a single replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot models. Importantly, this new Jeep model will also be built at the Mirafiori plant and exported to the U.S.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]