Fiat in talks with Detroit 3 over Alfa Romeo production
( Motor Authority )- The worsening exchange rate differential between the strengthening euro and weakening U.S. dollar means importing European manufactured models to North America is now significantly more expensive than just a few years ago. It's a problem Alfa Romeo has to juggle with as it attempts to re-establish itself in the U.S. next year, but it looks like the carmaker has a number of options up its sleeve to help ride out the storm.
One option officials are looking at is building a new plant in Mexico to supply North America with volume models like the 159 sedan and upcoming Mi.To and 149 hatchbacks. However, a cheaper and more realistic solution would be to utilize the unused capacity of an American carmaker.
Speaking with the Financial Times, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said he planned to start North American production of Alfa cars by 2011 or 2012. "I've always had the view that we had to produce in America," he explained. Marchionne also revealed that Alfa will initially lose money on the cars it sells in the U.S. and is unlikely to become profitable until a suitable partner is found. "I can suffer the loss initially, as long as I know I'm going to be producing enough," he lamented.
In addition to the new Alfa range, Fiat will also relaunch its Iveco commercial truck division in the U.S. as well as the new 500 minicar , which Marchionne hopes will enjoy the same success BMW has had with the Mini brand. The car that will spearhead Alfa Romeo's launch into the U.S., meanwhile, is the new 8C Competizione supercar and its Spider sibling, however, don't expect cheaper versions of these to be built Stateside.