TOLEDO, Ohio -- Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Chrysler Group, said that Alfa Romeo vehicles will likely be sold at Fiat dealerships in the United States.
About 200 Fiat franchises will be awarded later this year, mainly to Chrysler Group dealerships in metro markets friendly to small cars.
Fiat is preparing to bring Alfa vehicles to the United States starting in late 2012. Marchionne's statement at a press event here Monday is the strongest indication yet that the two Italian brands will be sold together in the United States.
“It's more than likely that Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands will be sold in the same” dealerships, Marchionne said.
For dealers who get the Fiat franchise, the addition of Alfa would be significant because Fiat now plans to sell only the 500 minicar. Sales start late this year, followed in subsequent years by other versions of the car, including a convertible, electric and four-door.
Alfa plans a return to North America in late 2012 with the mid-sized Giulia sedan and wagon, which replaced the Europe-only 159 sedan and Sportwagon models. The Giulias will have transverse engines and front- or all-wheel drive.
Alfa officials are also looking at or planning a subcompact, hatchback, roadster and mid-sized SUV.
On Aug. 30, the company will outline its plans for Fiat's U.S. rollout at a dealer meeting in Detroit. Marchionne said he will not discuss Alfa at the meeting.
At the press event here, Marchionne hosted Vice President Joe Biden, who said the U.S. auto industry is staging a comeback, thanks to federal assistance last year.