Alfa Romeo Revs Up to US Market

Analysts skeptical due to weak earlier run at American buyers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2008 8:34 PM CDT
The new Alfa Romeo 8C Spider is shown during the press day at the 78th Geneva International Motor Show, Tuesday, March 4, 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Sandro Campardo)
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(Newser) – Italian automaker Alfa Romeo is ready for a second run at the US market, hoping to provide a stylish alternative to BMWs and Audis, the Los Angeles Times reports. A cultural icon in Italy, Alfa failed to win over Americans in the past—and is now sparking skepticism from auto experts. “Do we really need another marque?” asked one automotive writer.

But other analysts are bullish, noting the brand’s surging popularity in Europe. The Fiat-owned company will start slow, offering only its high-end, $200,000 Alfa 8C Competizione model, but will produce cost-friendlier models like the Spider two-seater if sales rise. Alfa stopped selling cars in the US in 1995, when bad dealership arrangements dried up meager sales.