Fiat Delays Alfa Romeo’s U.S. Return to 2014

Fiat SpA, the Italian automaker that controls Chrysler Group LLC, is delaying the return of its Alfa Romeo brand to the U.S. until the second quarter of 2014, a Chrysler spokesman said.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat and Chrysler, told reporters in Detroit in January that the U.S. automaker would start selling the compact 4C sports car this year. Marchionne wants to revive the premium brand, long a symbol of Italian style and performance, and take it global.

“For sure it’s coming back this year with the 4C,” Marchionne said in January. “We’ll be selling the Alfa Romeo 4C. We’re finalizing the car now so it should be here by the end of the year.” Chrysler already sells the Fiat 500 in the U.S.

Rick Deneau, a spokesman for Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler, said in an e-mail the 4C probably will be available in the second quarter of next year.

Marchionne, 61, has spent the past four years seeking to unify Chrysler and Fiat to create a global player with the scale to compete with Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG. Turin, Italy-based Fiat took control as a result of Chrysler’s 2009 government-assisted bankruptcy.

Chrysler yesterday filed for an initial public offering to sell shares held by the United Auto Workers retiree health-care trust, which owns a 41.5 percent stake. The trust is seeking a price for the stake that is as least $1 billion more than Fiat wants to pay. Chrysler said in the filing that selling Alfa Romeo in the U.S. and Canada “will represent our entry into the premium vehicle market.”

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