Saturday, July 18, 2009

Alfa Romeo Strikes Back

I still remember the first Alfa Romeo I ever saw. For a teenage boy, that slinky Spider was sex on wheels. That evening, I recall thumbing through Road and Track's annual buyers guide for the specs.

The best part? Unlike the other Italians, this one was reasonably affordable. It retailed for $13,000. But then Alfa pulled out of the US market in 1995, crushing my hopes and dreams.

Well after nearly 15 years, Alfa is finally returning to the United States. According to the Times, the MiTo and 500 will be the first models to arrive.

Who can we thank? The (mis) management of Chrysler, of course, and the oh-so smart private equity team at Cerberus. Because of its financial troubles, Fiat (the parent of Alfa Romeo) acquired a large stake in distressed Chrysler. Voila! a dealer network. The missing ingredient.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the Spider will come back (but it should!). And don't expect to buy parts for your Milano at your local Chrylser dealer anytime soon.

image: Dave 7

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