Alfa Romeo delays U.S. return

Alfa Romeo

 (Alfa Romeo)

As Fiat likes to say in its advertisements, “the Italians are coming!” Unfortunately for sports car fans some are taking a longer than others to get here, even though they are quite fast.

The return of Fiat’s Alfa Romeo division to the United States has been delayed until mid-2014, Automotive News reports. Rick Deneau, spokesman for Fiat’s U.S. partner Chrysler, told the paper that Alfa Romeo’s first new car, the 4C, probably will be available in the second quarter of next year. This despite earlier assurances from company CEO Sergio Marchionne that it would be on sale before the end of 2013.

No reason for the delay was given, but the news comes as journalists in Italy are getting the first test drives of the mid-engine 4c, which is built on a carbon fiber chassis that should make it the lightest sports car in America. Early reviews have been positive, comparing the performance of the 200 hp turbocharged four-cylinder powered 4c to coupes like the Porsche Cayman and Lotus Exige.

Alfa Romeo left the U.S. market back in 1995 and, aside from a short run of $250,000-plus 8C supercars sold between 2007-2010, hasn't had a formal presence here since. When it finally goes on sale, the 4c will be available through Maserati dealerships at a starting price of around $54,000, but only 3,500 will be sold worldwide each year.

How many will make the trip to the New World? We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out.