2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
The first new Alfa Romeo to lead the brand's return to the United States will be the 4C, the stunning little coupe unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Not far behind it, another Alfa will come, and it will be its near-opposite: a Jeep-based SUV.
We've heard of a brewing Alfa-Jeep concoction since last year, but a recent report citing Italian newspapers has pointed to Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's own statements on the matter, which confirm the SUV.
The Alfa versions of the vehicle--possibly based on the Grand Cherokee, which itself shares much with the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class--will be built in Italy. It's not clear whether that will apply for all Alfa SUVs, or just for the ones sold outside the U.S. There have been no rumors of construction of an Alfa SUV alongside the Grand Cherokee here in North America, but with today's economics of transport in play, it makes more sense than shipping them halfway across the world.
The question then becomes, will a Jeep-based Alfa make sense here? Will SUV buyers look past its Italian styling and name to the solid Grand Cherokee foundations? And will an added dose of luxury and style find a niche in the U.S.?
We'll have to see how the market shakes out, but between the 4C, the SUV, and possible additions of MiTo, Giulietta, and Giulia, Alfa could soon have a broad product line in the U.S., though a very disparate one. Whether that will be conducive to sending a coherent brand image is yet another question to be answered.
What are your thoughts? Would you pick a reasonably priced, if somewhat more expensive, yet more luxurious, stylish, and Alfa-badged SUV over its Jeep (or Dodge) counterpart? Do you care if the SUV comes or not, as long as the 4C is available? Would an SUV in the brand make you rethink a 4C purchase? We want to know, so tell us in the comments below.