Report: Fiat to ship Fiat 500 and Alfa Romeo 940 to the U.S.

If its proposed partnership with Chrysler LLC is complete, Fiat will speed up the export of some European-built cars to the United States in an attempt to set the stage for a possible U.S. production around mid-2011.

“We are currently working on a plan to begin shipping the Fiat 500 minicar and the Alfa Romeo 940 to the U.S. in about a year,” a source familiar with the matter told Automotive News Europe.

The source said that the Fiat and Alfa models will be sold through Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealers. The number of the two models shipped to the U.S. from Europe will be very small to test the market for a higher-volume production by mid-2011. Eventually, Chrysler will begin producing the Fiat 500 at its Toluca Mexico plant and the Alfa 940 at an unknown U.S. location.

The insider said that Fiat is also looking to base the next Alfa Romeo 169 in Chrysler’s 300 platform.

The proposed alliance would give Chrysler access to four Fiat platforms for production in North America, from minicars to upper-medium models. Chrysler would also get 1.4- and 1.8-liter gasoline engines and a new six-speed transmission.

Fiat also is considering basing its oft-delayed upper-premium Alfa 169 on a Chrysler platform. The Italian automaker is looking at the LX platform that underpins the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.