Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says that Alfa Romeo is set to return to the U.S. by the end of 2012 and that Fiat dealers could sell the brand.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told members of the media gathered at a press event at Chrysler's Toledo, Ohio, assembly plant that Alfa Romeo will return to the United States market in just two years and that the upscale sporty vehicles will be offered through Fiat dealerships.

"It's more than likely that Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands will be sold in the same" dealerships, Marchionne told the media, offering the most concrete sign that the automaker will take advantage of Chrysler's distribution network to sell Alfa Romeos in the United States. A Canadian market return is also likely.

The move would also likely be a boon for Fiat dealers in the U.S. Chrysler is currently selecting Fiat outlets, but only a handful of iterations of the compact Fiat 500 will be on offer. A wider range of products would give dealers more cars to sell. At the very least, Alfa Romeo is likely to sell the next-generation version of its 159 sedan, tentatively set to be called Giulia, and a mid-size SUV.

Although Alfa Romeo vehicles have not been sold in mass quantities in the U.S. since 1995, the brand has long been rumored to return. Briefly, Fiat offered 90 examples of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione to selected buyers through Maserati dealers in late 2008 and early 2009, but a full and official return has regularly been delayed. Now, however, plans to expand Alfa Romeo's reach are reportedly moving along quickly in an effort to ramp up global sales.

Marchionne did not comment on VW's offer to acquire Alfa Romeo, although a brand spokesperson said that Fiat is not selling any of its lines. Alfa Romeo is one of the world's oldest carmakers, having just celebrated its 100th anniversary.