There are quite a few compact European city cars like the Fiat 500 and Alfa Romeo MiTo amongst others that the automaker planned to sell in the U.S. market as part of the Fiat subsidiary’s planned return to the United States. However the Alfa MiTo is just too small to be fit into the U.S. new car market. According to Alfa Romeo’s CEO Sergio Cravero: "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. That is not enough to make it a viable business case."
Alfa Romeo will return to the U.S. market in 2011 with the 147 replacement, the new Milano, that set to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show early next year. However, with gasoline prices falling, small car sales are not gaining the sort of traction that the automaker would have hoped. It is very likely that those prices that have been reasonable since last summer will only go up as this summer continues, and if there was any lasting effect left by the summertime scare it is that a new car’s fuel economy is a much more important factor to consumers when they are shopping for a new vehicle. The only other problem that Alfa will face is convincing U.S. buyers that despite their size, compact cars can be sold at a premium.
Cravero has made it clear that Alfa Romeo is still in the process of reviewing its U.S. bound new car lineup so there might still be a chance that the MiTo could still be shipped Stateside. "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."