Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester's revelation last week that the brand's 4C sport coupe is heading to Maserati showrooms next year raises new questions about Alfa Romeo's future in the United States.
"Most likely, the Alfa 4C will be sold in the U.S. through the Maserati network," Wester, who also is Maserati's CEO, told Automotive News in an e-mail on Thursday, Sept. 26.
Many struggling Fiat dealerships are awaiting the 4C and other Alfa Romeos. But while Wester's revelation may be a blow to Fiat dealers, it raises more questions such as: Will the 4C also be sold at Fiat dealerships? And where will high-volume Alfa Romeos planned for the United States be sold - at Fiat dealerships, Maserati stores or both?
Wester and chief Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri declined to address the issues.
Fiat executives have said they will sell the Alfa Romeo Giulia mid-sized sedan, Giulietta compact and other Alfa Romeos in the United States in the coming years.
Fiat dealers never received a letter of intent or an outright promise for a future Alfa Romeo franchise, but Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne did acknowledge the expectation. He said Alfa Romeo needed Chrysler's help if it was to successfully return to the United States, which it left in 1995.
Alfa Romeo and Maserati are fully owned subsidiaries of Fiat S.p.A. of Italy. Fiat also owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler.
Between 2008 and 2010, U.S. Maserati dealers sold about 100 units of the 8C Competizione coupe and 8C Spider. Both cost more than $200,000.
Wester, who also is Fiat-Chrysler's chief technical officer, declined to say when the 4C will debut in the United States, confirming only that the car will go on sale before the end of the second quarter of 2014.