While Fiat has long ignored the U.S. market, the Italian manufacturer is mulling over a return to the world’s biggest market. The carmaker’s CEO Sergio Marchionne has revealed that distribution, rather than manufacturing, is Fiat's current greatest hurdle to entering the market, but has also stated that he’s open to finding a partner in North America.

Fiat's withdrawal from the US market in the 80's was a result of its poor build-quality and almost non-existent distribution methods consisting of a tiny dealership network. The carmaker has previously had ties with GM but any new alliance would likely entail a deal with either Ford or Chrysler, however no negotiations have taken place as yet.

Fiat-owned Alfa Romeo is also re-entering the US market after being yanked out in the 90's suffering from the same problems as Fiat - poor build quality and poor distribution. Now Alfa Romeo is moving to a factory in Mexico to service the US market but parent-company Fiat is also itching to get back into America, reports Just-Auto.

Marchionne also stated that the Fiat 500 could be a "huge smash in the US if we do it right," and that the Fiat 500 product range could "probably carry the market". These weren't the idle words of a proud boss though - Marchionne emphasized the fact that Fiat is "looking real hard" at bringing in the Fiat 500 to the US.

The news comes following Marchionne's previous statements about Fiat looking at creating a dedicated brand of low-cost cars, particularly its new Uno replacement that would cost less than $10,000. While there's no word if the two announcements are linked, a low-cost brand in the US would be a lucrative opportunity considering the weak economy and growing trend towards small cars.

The company is also looking to build a plant in North America as it stages its return to the U.S. market. One of the current front-runners for the location of the new plant is Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Officials from the city hoping to lure the Italian maker to their chilly northern climes are currently visiting with Fiat in the company's home offices, reports the Toronto Star.