MUNICH -- Despite recent analyst speculation, Alfa Romeo is not for sale, and the United States offers the luxury brand 'very important opportunities,' said Fiat S.p.A. Chairman Luca di Montezemolo.
In an interview with Reuters, Montezemolo dismissed a suggestion by analysts with asset management fund Sanford Bernstein that Volkswagen AG could be the right buyer for the money-losing brand. He also said Fiat doesn't need an Asian partnership to match recent tie-ups by European competitors with Japanese automakers.
"We will present the new Alfa that substitutes the 147, and we think there are also very important opportunities for Alfa Romeo in the United States," Montezemolo said.
Alfa's aging 147 hatchback will be replaced early next year by the Giulietta, a car that may be Alfa's last new model. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has ordered a strategic review of the brand to consider whether to freeze substantial investments after the introduction of the Giulietta or to refresh Alfa's lineup using Chrysler Group platforms. Those platforms could be used to replace the aging Alfa 159 sedan and wagon and the discontinued 166 flagship sedan.
Alfa's new-car sales have declined steeply in the past decade as its range became older and new products were delayed.
Last year, Alfa sold 103,000 new cars, down from 203,000 in 2000. The brand has lost between 200 million and 400 million euros a year in the past 10 years, according to industry sources. Fiat does not release separate financial results for any of its brands.
Marchionne is expected to announce the future of Alfa early next year, when the Italian automaker presents its 2010 to 2014 business plan.