The CEO of Italian carmaker Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, has revealed that a decision on U.S. production and re-launch plans for the Alfa Romeo brand could be made within six months and that negotiations are already taking place with companies in North America. However, a 2009 U.S. launch for Alfa Romeo is looking unlikely, with late 2010 or even early 2011 the likely date.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Marchionne stated that’s open to negotiations with everybody and that Alfa Romeo “must begin producing vehicles in North America by the end of 2010, beginning of 2011."

Marchionne has also confirmed the launch of the 500 in the U.S., telling reporters at a press event in Turin earlier this month that the 500 could be a “smash hit” in the U.S.

At the same time, Fiat chief technology officer Harald J. Wester revealed there are two new small cars in the works and the 500 minicar will be sold in North America, although he didn’t give a timeline. He also confirmed the car would be produced at either a U.S. plant or one of Fiat’s existing facilities in South America.