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Alfa Romeo to return to U.S. (finally) with all-new sports car

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After years of failed promises and delayed introductions, Alfa Romeo will officially return to the U.S. later this year with an all-new mid-engine sports car, the company announced Tuesday.

The Alfa Romeo 4C will be the first of several Alfas to hit the U.S. market when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2013. Over the next few years, the company expects to bring a sedan, a two-seat convertible -- being developed jointly with Mazda -- and a small SUV, said Richard Gadeselli, a spokesman for Fiat.

"By 2016, North American dealers will have a complete range of Alfa products," Gadeselli said.

Fiat is the parent company of Alfa Romeo, and it also has a controlling stake in Chrysler Group.

The compact, rear-wheel-drive 4C will make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5.

Detailed specs for the car haven't been released, but Alfa says the two-seater will have a carbon-fiber chassis, a dual-clutch transmission, and an all-aluminum, turbocharged four-cylinder engine making "more than 200 horsepower." A similar engine in Alfa's Giulietta hatchback sold in Europe has 232 horsepower.

Alfa hasn't yet released pricing for the 4C, but Gadeselli said the car will start between 50,000 and 60,000 Euro. When it comes to the U.S., it will be priced near or below its closest competitor, the mid-engined Porsche Cayman. That car starts at about $53,000.

Only 1,500 copies of the 4C will be made annually, with at least half that number destined for the North American market, Gadeselli said.

The company is still working out the details on who will sell the Alfa cars, but all current Fiat dealerships in the U.S. will be offered the chance to sell Alfas, Gadeselli said. Alfa exited the U.S. market in 1995.

"The Chrysler dealer network is huge, so we will be in a good position to provide proper sales and service for the North American market," Gadeselli said.

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