Alfa Romeo is putting as much effort into developing the dealer network through which it will return to the United States in 2009 as it does the products that they will sell, according to a published report.

Citing Alfa's marketing head Antonio Baravalle, WardsAuto.com said the Italian automaker is working with fellow Fiat Group company Maserati - already present in the US - to select a dealer network and is also working with JD Power and Associates in Los Angeles to help it prepare.

Products destined for the US include a new 169 luxury car [effectively successor to the problem-plagued 164 sedan last sold before Alfa withdrew from the world's largest car market in the early 1990s], a 'crossover' sport utility vehicle and the Brera coupe and Spider roadster, WardsAuto.com said.

Baravalle reportedly said Alfa plans to sell at least 18,000 vehicles in the US in 2010, which will account for 6% of its worldwide sales goal of 300,000 units - this year, sales will be about 160,000 units.

WardsAuto.com said Alfa will launch three products in the next four years: the Junior, in second-quarter 2008 a 3-door sporty compact aimed at young buyers; the 169 in second quarter 2009, a sporty sedan priced at €40,000-€55,000 ($51,000-$70,000) and the CXover, in first-quarter 2010, a five-door CUV, priced at about €28,000 ($36,000).

Alfa Romeo's return in 2009 also means Americans will take part in the marque's 100th birthday party, WardsAuto.com added, noting that Anonima Lombarda Fabrica Automobili was founded on 24 June, 1910.

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