Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says he will appoint an Alfa Romeo boss for North America by year end, as he seeks to get a footing in the U.S., before turning his attention to Europe.
He says it will be easier to re-establish Alfa's credibility in the U.S. than in Europe. The sporty Italian brand's image has been eroded in Europe by years of mediocre quality, outdated engines and aging vehicles that parent Fiat S.p.A. waited too long to redesign.
"We are going to target the U.S. market first and work our way back into Europe," he said in an interview in Turin, Italy. "We have run market tests on the desirability of the Alfa brand in the U.S. and -- notwithstanding our long absence from the market -- it's still one of the best brands in the world, and I think we need to go back and grab it."
Alfa Romeo left the United States in 1995. The brand's boss for North America will come from Fiat-Chrysler ranks, Marchionne told Automotive News, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.