If you want more proof that Fiat-owned Alfa Romeo is poised to return to U.S. soil in the near future, here it is: the Italian automaker has trademarked the Alfa Romeo 4C brand in the United States. While that’s not quite the same thing as
specifying an exact production start date
, it’s one more necessary step for the marque’s return to U.S. soil.
As Automotive News Europe
(subscription required) reports, the trademark covers a wide range of items beyond the 4C coupe itself, including clothing and toys. Sales of the mid-engined sports car are slated to begin in the United States by the end of 2013, a commitment reiterated by Fiat head Sergio Marchionne earlier this month.The 4C coupe
will be the first Alfa Romeo imported into the United States since 1995, when the mostly-forgettable 164 sedan ushered out the brand. Production of the 4C will take place at Maserati’s plant in Modena, Italy
, and the sport coupe will quickly be followed by a redesigned Giulia sedan, due to hit the U.S. in early 2014.
Look for Alfa Romeo to be positioned as an upscale-but-attainable brand, priced above Fiat but far below premium Italian brands like Maserati. By 2014, six new Alfa Romeo models are planned, though it’s not yet clear how many will make it to the United States.
Fleshing out Alfa’s model lineup and expanding the brand into new markets are critical steps in Marchionne’s plan to boost revenue at Fiat and Chrysler to $131 billion by 2014.