2011 Alfa Romeo 4C Concept
In December, our colleagues at Motor Authority told you that Alfa Romeo was on-track for its scheduled 2013 return to the U.S. The company's first American car in a generation will be the Alfa Romeo 4C, which should start around $45,000.
However, Alfa's owner, Fiat, has seen some trouble the past several months. Fiat's European sales figures have been underwhelming (due in part to the region's ongoing economic crisis), and the company's only U.S. model -- the 500 -- isn't exactly flying out the door. True, Fiat's balance sheet looked healthy at the end of 2011, but that was entirely due to profits funneled over from the Chrysler side of the family. Understandably, we were beginning to have doubts about the 4C's arrival.
But damn the torpedoes and the bottom line, Alfa is going full-speed ahead to return to America. We know that because Auto News reports that Fiat has registered the 4C with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Office granted the trademark earlier this month, on April 10. It covers not just the car and its parts, but also a range of branded accessories and children's toys. (We're expecting a review copy of the Matchbox 4C any moment.)
To date, the 4C has only appeared in concept form, unveiled during the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. At the time, it was billed as a mid-engined roadster, and we don't expect that design to change much en route to the production model.
There's no official word on how Fiat plans to sell Alfas in the U.S., but we have a hunch they'll appear in the brand-new showrooms constructed for the 500, rather than in Chrysler dealerships (or in Alfa-branded showrooms, for that matter).
If you're hoping to get your hands on one of these beauties, you'd better start planning ahead: Fiat has said that it only plans to manufacture 2,500 units of the Alfa Romeo 4C per year, and only a fraction of those will come to the U.S. Good luck.