Fiat delays Alfa Romeo's U.S. relaunch again, to spring 2014

DETROIT/MILAN, Sept 24 Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:00pm EDT

DETROIT/MILAN, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Italian automaker Fiat SpA has delayed again the U.S. relaunch of its sporting Alfa Romeo brand until spring 2014, a Fiat spokesman said Tuesday.

Fiat, which controls Chrysler Group LLC, had planned to begin selling the Alfa Romeo 4C sports car later this year through Chrysler dealers that also handle the Fiat brand.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, said as recently as June that Fiat "has everything we need" to relaunch Alfa in the U.S., where the brand has not been sold since 1995.

Marchionne originally said Alfa would return to the U.S. market in 2008, then repeatedly delayed that date for one reason or another.

On Monday, Chrysler filed for an initial public offering over the strenuous objections of Marchionne, who wants to merge Fiat and Chrysler and make the world's seventh-largest automaker.

Marchionne has said that Chrysler's Jeep and Fiat's Alfa Romeo are the group's only two truly global brands.

Fiat is in the midst of beefing up Alfa's aging product portfolio with more expensive models and aims to triple its sales volume by 2016 after years of losses.

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