Chrysler’s U.S. operations announced this week it is working on establishing a Fiat dealer network south of the border that would cover up to 125 markets in 41 states.
The plans call for Chrysler Group LLC to start selecting a group of dealers in markets target to the small-car segment to help reintroduce the Fiat brand in the U.S.
Mary Gauthier of Chrysler Canada said there is no official release expected detailing Canadian plans for Fiat, but did say they would be engaging in a similar dealer selection process.
Chrysler says it will send dealer application guides to dealers in the identified markets containing specific Fiat dealer requirements and instructions on submitting a proposal.
Included in the guide are details on facility, sales strategy, accessory sales, service and parts departments, training curriculum and financial requirements.
“The Fiat dealer network will be appropriately sized to serve the market opportunity,” said Peter Grady, V-P of network development and fleet.
“Our vision is to establish a dealer network that will reflect and enhance the brand’s reputation for innovation and fun, and will offer a unique, personalized customer experience.”
The Fiat brand in the U.S. will feature the new Fiat 500 late this year and the Fiat 500 Cabrio in 2011.
The manufacturer says dealers must demonstrate how they will market, sell and service Fiat vehicles with a new customer service model. Basic guidelines include.
• Location – The majority of dealerships will be located in the identified markets
• Eligible Dealers – Proposals from Chrysler Group’s best performing dealers will have preference in the identified markets
• Dealer Performance – Chrysler Group will evaluate interested dealers on volume performance, minimum sales responsibility accomplishment, capitalization and overall Dealer Standards score. In addition, the company will individually evaluate the proposed facility and customer handling metrics.
• Fiat Facility – A completely separate facility will be required to represent the Fiat brand.
• Fiat Team – A separate Fiat team will be required to sell and service the Fiat brand.
• Fiat Standards – Fiat standards will be unique from existing Chrysler Group Dealer Standards.
• Financial – Dealer candidates will have to show that they have the financial resources necessary to support the introduction of the Fiat brand.