Alfa Romeo is likely to return to North America by 2012 after a 15-year hiatus, the head of Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), the company that makes the classic Italian sports car, said on Friday.
The brand was last sold in the U.S. market in 1995, and Fiat has pushed back its return several times.
“I’m a lot more confident now … that Alfa Romeo will reconstitute a product offering that is acceptable globally, and more in particular in the United States and Canada,” Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said in Toronto.
“There is a strong likelihood that the brand will be back here within the next 24 months.”
Marchionne said it is possible that Canada may play a roll in manufacturing the Alfa Romeo, made famous in North American popular culture in the 1967 movie “The Graduate“.
Fiat, which also owns the luxury brands Maserati and Abarth, took control of Alfa Romeo in 1986.
Fiat took over Chrysler less than a year ago after the troubled U.S. automaker was forced into bankruptcy in the midst of a recession and dropping market share.