After a nearly two-decade absence from the U.S. market, Italian car maker Alfa Romeo Friday named 82 U.S. and four Canadian dealers to sell its cars in North America.
Among those 82 is Fiat of Tacoma, which sells cars made by Alfa's parent company, Fiat.
Fiat of Tacoma is one of two dealers designated to sell the upmarket brand in Washington. The other dealer is in Spokane.
Sales of Alfas will start slowly with limited availability of the company's sporty 4C model. The line will later be expanded to include sedans and perhaps an SUV.
Alfa exited the U.S. in 1995.
The brand gained perhaps its greatest public fame in the iconic 1967 movie The Graduate in which Dustin Hoffman drove a classic red Alfa Spider 1800.
According to industry sources, the initial 4C models offered for sale at U.S. dealers will be a limited edition priced at nearly $70,000. More ordinary 4Cs will be priced beginning at $55,000.
The company's sedan, to be built in the same Belvidere, Ill. plant as its sister car, the Dodge Dart, will be less expensive.
Alfa will position itself against such imported brands as BMW, Audi, Volvo and Mercedes.
In addition to its namesake brand and Alfa Romeo, Fiat produces Maserati, Ferrari, Chrysler, Dodge, Lancia, Ram and Jeep brand vehicles.
The Fiat vehicles sold in the U.S. are built in a Chrysler plant in Mexico. Fiat reentered the U.S. in 2011 after a 27-year absence.
Phil Bivens, owner of Fiat of Tacoma and the new Alfa dealership at 3740 South Tacoma Way, also owns Tacoma Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Enumclaw, Tacoma Nissan and Auburn Chevrolet.
Alfa said it intends to eventually expand its U.S. dealer network to 300 stores. The 82 dealerships announced Friday are spread among 33 states. Among the states that for now have no Alfa dealers are Washington neighbors Oregon and Idaho.