Despite Delay, Alfa Romeo’s U.S. Return Carries High Hopes

As many readers will know, Alfa Romeo, the spicy Italian car brand renowned for its sensual car designs and quintessentially “Italian” aesthetic, is finally coming back to American shores after an extended absence that felt much longer than its 18 years. Unfortunately, Alfa will be returning a bit later than originally thought.

On September 24, Fiat & Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau announced that the brand’s long awaited return would be delayed until the second quarter of 2014. This contradicts previous statements made by Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne that unequivocally stated that Alfa’s return would be marked by the debut of the lightweight 4C sports car in 2013.

Although no statement has been released detailing the reasons for the delay, previous issues have arisen with the powertrain and design that have forced Marchionne to further delay the 4C’s debut.

The eventual return to American shores will spearhead an enormous brand revival effort for Alfa. When the brand originally pulled out of the American market in 1995, it did so due to its image of abysmal quality and reliability, which contributed to stagnant sales. The 4C is the tip of an iceberg that will see a bevy of new models debuting in America, Europe, and Asia.

Although pricing details on the 4C have not yet been released, it’s estimated to come in at anywhere from $55,000 to $100,000, with most estimates putting it around the $75,000 range. Early reviews of eurospec models are rolling in currently, and they’ve been uniformly positive.

Although Alfa will have to market the 4C heavily to older generations that remember its predecessors’ dubious quality, Millenials’ lack of familiarity with the brand could prove to be a boon. Young, affluent trendsetters are a demographic coveted by all automakers and the 4C presents an intriguing option for many young people of means. If Alfa can field an innovative marketing campaign, there’s no telling the heights that the resurgent brand could reach.

While it’s regrettable that the famous brand’s return has been delayed once more, glowing early reviews and an eager market could ultimately prove to be the catalysts to an extremely successful return. Only time will tell.