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Alt 16.07.2006, 03:15
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Dabei seit: Nov 2004 - Wohnort: 80 n/a
Alfa Romeo: 156 2.0
Alfa Romeo ab 2009 wieder bei Händlern in den USA

Laut Autoweek.com wird Alfa ab 09 mit dem 159, Brera und Spider wieder in USA vertreten sein. 2009 gibts ein Facelift und 2012 den 159 Nachfolger.

Uncork the Chianti!!
Italian maker Alfa Romeo returning to the U.S. in 2009


AutoWeek | Published 07/13/06, 8:29 am et

Alfa Romeo has confirmed it is preparing a high-stakes return to the North American market after more than a decade’s absence. A trio of contemporary new models will lead the charge.

Although not officially due to go on sale here until the end of 2009 (coinciding with the company’s 100th anniversary in 2010), the new Alfa Romeo lineup is well on the way to fruition, having already been launched in Europe in the past 12 months. Engineering work is now under way at home and in the U.S. to make the cars fit for North American sale, a task Alfa Romeo officials say is a mere formality given that all three models were developed with U.S. safety and emission regulations in mind.

Among the new models the Italian carmaker has earmarked for North America are facelifted versions of the one-year-old 159 sedan, as well the recently launched Brera coupe and Spider convertible. Alfa especially likes the Spider’s chances, given its link with the Duetto, which rose to prominence starring alongside Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in the popular 1967 movie The Graduate.

Each model coming stateside is based on Alfa Romeo’s new Premium platform (a modular structure developed with General Motors’ Saab division). The chassis supports front- and four-wheel drive, and is engineered to conform to North American crash regulations.

“We knew when we first drew up plans for the 159, Brera and Spider that they would likely head to North America, so we undertook the necessary engineering to ensure they would meet any existing and future standards from the outset,” says Alfa Romeo spokesman Richard Gadeselli.

Gadeselli confirms fine-tuning is taking place before the cars gain U.S. certification, which is why Alfa Romeo’s return to North America is being timed to coincide with the appearance of facelifted versions of the 159, Brera and Spider in 2009 rather than now. The delay also gives Alfa Romeo time to launch the promised performance-oriented GTA versions of each model, providing it with a potentially larger lineup.

Alfa Romeo isn’t divulging detailed specifications, although Gadeselli hints that both the 2.2-liter four-cylinder front-wheel-drive and 3.2-liter V6 four-wheel-drive versions of each model will be sold here. Depending on how diesel sales progress in coming years, there may also be a 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel in the 159.

By concentrating its efforts on just three models sharing the same basic platform and driveline architecture, Alfa Romeo is clearly seeking to contain costs. Success in North America could help fund crucial new models, such as a production version of its well-received Kamal concept car wheeled out at the 2003 Geneva motor show as well as a crossover to replace the discontinued 166. A new entry-level model, codenamed Racer and positioned beneath the European market 147, was also recently under consideration but may be abandoned, according to AutoWeek sources.

The decision to return Alfa Romeo to the North American market stems from a strategic plan laid out by parent company Fiat, which aims for a close alignment with Maserati. The plan calls for Alfa Romeo and Maserati to develop new models using common components to lower costs, speed development and improve profitability.

Under an earlier plan, Maserati was aligned with Ferrari, but that was abandoned last year when it became apparent that developing Maserati models to the same standards used at Ferrari proved too expensive for Maserati’s volume ambitions. By grouping Alfa Romeo and Maserati together, Fiat hopes to have finally found a complementary pairing.

To cost-effectively reestablish Alfa Romeo’s sales and service presence, officials have already struck a deal with the Maserati dealer network in North America that will see the 159, Brera and Spider sold alongside the Quattroporte as well as next year’s replacement for the Maserati Coupe and Spyder and a new entry-level Maserati sedan to take on the BMW M5.

The deal calls for an initial 50-strong network concentrated around large cities, although Gadeselli indicates this is likely to grow in both numbers and coverage as awareness of the Alfa Romeo brand increases.

“We’re under no illusion. The North American market is the toughest car market in the world. But it is also the largest in terms of volume. Alfa Romeo can no longer afford not to be represented there,” Gadeselli says. “We’re convinced there is potential for Alfa Romeo and we are determined to succeed.”

Alfa Romeo’s U.S. prospects
Alfa Romeo’s reentry into the U.S. market, timed to coincide with the Italian carmaker’s centennial in 2010, will start with a three-car push: 159, Brera and Spider. The lineup will remain unchanged until early next decade when, according to sources at parent company Fiat, Alfa Romeo may diversify with three more models that already exist as styling proposals at Alfa Romeo’s design headquarters in Turin: Kamal, Racer and 169.

Here is what’s in store:

159—Facelifted version of current model arrives in U.S. in late 2009. All new: 2012
Brera—Facelifted version of current model arrives in U.S. in late 2009. All new: 2013
Spider—Facelifted version of all-new model (see sidebar at right) arrives in U.S. in late 2009. All new: 2013
Kamal—Compact SUV inspired by the Kamal concept goes up against the BMW X3 in 2011
Sprint—Future uncertain for entry-level coupe seen as a spiritual successor to the Alfa Sud Sprint, developed under the internal codename Racer. Earliest arrival: 2011
169—Crossover replacement for recently discontinued 166 due in 2012
147—Entry level model currently not planned for sale in North America

Text: www.autoweek.com
Bild: Alfa Romeo Presse
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