GENEVA -- Alfa Romeo is preparing a sporty coupe that will be sold in the United States, most likely at dealerships paired with Fiat.
Last week at the Geneva auto show, the Fiat Group subsidiary showed a production-ready version of the 4C coupe concept with rear-wheel drive and a rear-mounted engine.
The 4C, built using carbon fiber and aluminum, will weigh less than 1,800 pounds.
Fiat dealerships in the United States are slowly beginning sales of the Fiat 500, and more 500 versions are planned for sale in the United States, starting with a convertible later this year. Chrysler Group has said the Alfa franchise likely will be paired with many Fiat dealerships, making the Alfa-Fiat dual a more profitable prospect for dealers.
Chrysler is aiming to have most of its 130 Fiat dealerships operating by this fall.
Alfa CEO Harald Wester said at the show that the 4C will be sold in the United States. He did not say when U.S. sales would start, but he said global production begins in late 2012. That is when Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, has said Alfa vehicles are due in U.S. dealerships in significant volumes. In 2009, Alfa sold 84 Competizione coupes and 35 Spiders at Maserati dealerships in the United States at about $300,000 apiece. The cars are now out of production.
Alfa plans to build just 15,000 to 20,000 units of the 4C coupe over five years, two people familiar with the matter told Automotive News Europe. Another 5,000 to 10,000 units of a 4C roadster will be built for Fiat's sporty Abarth subbrand, the sources said.
Alfa is set to price the production 4C at about 45,000 euros, or about $62,000, in Europe, company sources say.
The 4C concept was styled by Alfa's design center in Turin, Italy. The car is rakish, compact and low to the ground.
Marchionne wants to lift Alfa sales to 500,000 units by 2014. Alfa's global sales last year rose a modest 10 percent to 112,000 units.
Bradford Wernle contributed to this report