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A new, big, rear-drive Alfa Romeo sedan is set to spearhead a U.S. comeback for the Italian brand--and it'll do it on the coattails of the 2011 Chrysler 300.

However, Chrysler says there's no firm plan to bring the brand back, and a business plan must make sense for the moribund Italian car brand to make a return at all sometime after 2012.

Nevertheless, the rumormill suggests plans are already in the works to bring Alfa Romeo back to the States. Motor Authority reports that the plans for Chrysler and Fiat's new attack on the U.S. market will be topped by a new rear-drive sedan for Alfa Romeo that's going global. The new Alfa--possibly dubbed the Milano, though the name applies to a smaller car across the Atlantic--will get a quick development cycle and could appear as early as 2012.

With the new big sedan, Fiat hopes to give Alfa Romeo a range-topping sedan, something it's lacked since the Alfa 166 shown here was discontinued. The new sedan will carry the underpinnings of the next Chrysler 300, due as a 2011 model. Both vehicles also will share a new range of V-6 engines developed by Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, when those companies still were linked financially.

The Alfa version could offer coupe-like styling and a smaller body than the hulking Chrysler 300. And it could also share an assembly line in Ontario, Canada, where Chrysler now builds the 300, the Dodge Charger and Challenger.