Chrysler Group LLC has started appointing dealers to represent the Fiat Brand in the United States in anticipation of the Italian subcompact’s reintroduction into North America.
“The dealers appointed in this first phase have plans in place and will be ready to take orders for the iconic Fiat 500 subcompact,” the automaker said in a release posted on its website.
In all, Chrysler plans on having Fiat dealers in 119 U.S. markets, mostly in areas chosen for their high concentration of small-car registrations. Chrysler says its Fiat dealer selection team has spent the last few weeks reviewing proposals from existing dealers who want to add the Fiat franchise to their brand portfolio.
Part of the proposal included providing information on facility, marketing, sales and service plans in their proposals. “We have carefully considered each of these dealer proposals looking for the best locations and the most creative plans,” said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s vice president of network development and fleet operations.
“We are looking for a customer experience that is as unique and personalized as the Fiat 500 itself,” said Laura Soave, head of Fiat brand North America.
“Some of the proposals are extremely creative and in many cases not only met but exceeded our expectations. We are looking forward to working with our dealer team for the successful launch of the Fiat Brand in the United States and offering our customers the personal experience that they deserve in our Fiat Studios.”
Some dealers are reportedly ready to build new state-of-the art facilities, while others plan to convert on-site used car and other buildings into Fiat dealerships.
Some dealers will purchase former auto dealerships, while others are snapping up empty retail stores in their markets. Demand has been so strong, says the automaker, that dealers from outside the Chrysler dealer network have also shown great interest in securing the Fiat franchise.
“The company is now looking at their proposals as well,” the release said.
Chrysler Group is building the Fiat 500 in its Toluca, Mexico, assembly plant.