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Cars America Missed Out On: Alfa Romeo 159

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This one was a real loss.

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and launched in 2005, the Alfa Romeo 159 was a real beauty. Everything about it screamed Italian, from its V-shaped grille to its side profile. You could tell immediately this was an enthusiast's sedan (and wagon). It was offered with a variety of both gasoline and diesel engines, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. During its initial development stage, there were tentative plans to export it to the US.

It was even built on a GM/Fiat platform that underpinned some Opels. Front-wheel-drive was standard while all-wheel-drive was an option. In other words, the 159 was designed with American buyers in mind. So why didn't the export happen? The partnership between GM and Fiat ended, and Alfa Romeo didn't have the funds and/or the dealer network in place in the US. All told, 240,000 examples were built before production ended in 2011. Supposedly its direct successor will be the new Giulia, which will hopefully go on sale in the US sometime in 2015. We're anxiously waiting for its arrival.

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