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Alfa Romeo denies Giulia delay is due to crash test issues

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a crucial part of the brand’s U.S. comeback strategy, but back in November it was reported that the car’s launch would be pushed back six months. By itself, that’s more frustrating than unusual. But a recent report claimed the delay was for a very serious reason.

Citing unnamed supplier sources, Automotive News claimed Alfa had to delay the Giulia’s launch because the car failed internal crash tests. The sources said substantial re-engineering was required, forcing the six-month delay for both European and North American launches. But Alfa now says that report was incorrect.

The crash-test story is “not accurate or representative at all,” an Alfa spokesperson told Road & Track. The spokesperson reaffirmed that Alfa still plans to launch the Giulia in the U.S. in “late second quarter 2016,” matching the revised timeline reported in November. The high performance Quadrifoglio model will arrive first, followed by other versions. The Giulia was originally supposed to go on sale in Europe early this year, followed by a U.S. launch.

Related: Alfa Romeo Giulietta may land in 2017 with rear-wheel drive

If all goes well, the Giulia could cement Alfa’s return to the U.S. in a way the low-volume 4C sports car never could. It also looks like an enthusiast’s dream. The Giulia targets the BMW 3 Series, but is much more stylish than the staid German offering. And the Quadrifoglio version boasts a 503-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, Ferrari-derived V6. It does 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and lapped the Nürburgring in a scorching 7:39, according to Alfa.

So if the Giulia really is as good as it sounds, a six-month delay probably won’t be too big of a deal in the long run. But this isn’t the only product-launch delay Alfa is dealing with. As part of its revised five-year plan, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced some changes to Alfa’s product-launch timeline. A blitz of new models that was originally supposed to take place between 2014 and 2018 is being pushed back, and FCA is also cutting R&D, manufacturing, and product-development investments in the Italian car maker.

What effect this will ultimately have on Alfa’s U.S. comeback remains to be seen, but with the Giulia spearheading the arrival of new mainstream Alfa models, bad publicity is exactly what the car maker doesn’t need.