BALOCCO, Italy--Alfa Romeo's MiTo--about the size of a Honda Fit--is probably too small for today's U.S. market, says Alfa CEO Sergio Cravero.
The MiTo has been considered for sale here as part of the Fiat subsidiary's planned return to the United States. "A preliminary product assessment for a sporty three-door small hatchback showed potential volumes in the U.S. right now are roughly 20,000 units a year," Cravero said. "That is not enough to make it a viable business case."
He said the situation could change if U.S. demand shifts to smaller vehicles. But with gasoline prices falling, Cravero noted that small-car sales are not taking off.
A Fiat spokesman said Alfa plans to return to the United States in the second half of 2011 with the Milano, a five-door midsize hatchback that debuts next March at the Geneva auto show.
Cravero said Alfa is waiting for Chrysler Group to decide which platforms it will produce in North America before settling on a full product lineup for the United States. Fiat owns the Alfa Romeo brand and has a 20 percent stake in Chrysler.
"We have to review the possible platform and manufacturing synergies emerging from Chrysler's new product plan," Cravero said. "Then we can finalize our product grid for the U.S."
Alfa Romeo left the United States in 1995. Alfa's comeback, which was announced in 2000, has been delayed several times.