AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler Group LLC hosted about 400 Chrysler Group dealers Monday to outline the requirements to become a Fiat dealer in the United States.
The dealers met with the Chrysler Group team responsible for establishing a Fiat retail network by the end of this year. The company wants Fiat dealerships in about 165 locations, in metropolitan areas chosen for their high concentration of small-car registrations.
Dealers left today’s meeting armed with the information needed to submit a competitive proposal for a Fiat franchise. Dealers have been asked to submit their proposals by Sept. 22. Chrysler Group expects to name its Fiat dealers in the fourth quarter.
“The Fiat brand offers our dealers the opportunity to be part of a unique experience,” said Laura Soave, head of Fiat Brand North America. “Our dealers will be able to interact with a group of individuals that are not part of their current customer base. These are individuals interested in Italian automotive design coupled with fuel efficient technology. Our dealers will be the key point of contact with our customers, and thereby, a crucial part of the success of the Fiat brand.”
Chrysler Group dealers located in the targeted markets were invited to attend today’s meeting where they learned about the history of the Fiat brand, the U.S. product plans, volume expectations, competitors, and dealership facility and training requirements.
“We have determined the areas of the country where they can succeed and grow,” said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s vice president of network development and fleet. “Now they must submit proposals detailing their plan for representing Fiat, from the showroom to sales, marketing and after sales.”
The new Fiat retail network will begin selling the U.S. version of the Fiat 500 late this year, and the Fiat 500 Cabrio model in 2011. The Fiat 500 will be built in Toluca, Mexico.
The North American version of the Fiat 500 will be equipped with Fiat’s 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder Fully Integrated Robotized Engine featuring the MultiAir system. The engine is manufactured in the United States.