Originally Posted by ed77
It depends where they are aiming with the product. The most likely areas are the BMW 3 series and America.
America demands a longer and taller car and the 159 is precisely this. The new 3 series is also larger than the old. Also, they are following a general trend in the car industry towards increasing the size of models for example the current VW Polo is larger than the original VW Golf.
They're not aiming it at the North American market.
Even with the proposed changes between Alfa, Maserati and Ferrari, it's unlikely Alfa would return to these shores before 2007 or 2008 at the earliest. Even then, the odds are not good. Alfa would have to find a dealer network, and that's going to be hard. When GM was still involved, there was a place for Alfa to go -- likely with their Saturn/Saab/Iszuzu dealership chain. Now there's no place for Alfa.
Most high end Italian stuff here is sold out of specialty dealers. A few are strictly Ferrari/Maserati, but lots combine Ferrari or Masterati with Jaguar/Aston/Lotus/Bentley/Porsche or some other high end offering. Those type of dealerships aren't necessarily going to want general riff-raff coming in off the streets to get the cambelts changed on their mundane, boring daily drivers. It hurts their image of exclusivity and it sullies up the dealership with sedan drivers begging the salesman "can I sit in the Enzo?"
If Fiat can't convince the Ferrari/Maserati dealers to add Alfa on the bottom end, the it is going to cost the company millions and millions of dollars to establish an Alfa only dealer network, and that certainly won't happen for a number of years, and by that point the car will likely be a 160 or a 161.