Fiat to have separate dealer network

The upcoming Fiat 500 will be sold with other upcoming Fiat’s in a separate dealer network. To get things started, Fiat dealerships will be located in roughly 125 U.S. metropolitan areas that Chrysler has found to have high small-car registration and grow from there. It will be interesting to see how many Chrysler/Dodge stores apply to be a Fiat dealer as well.

From the Detroit News:

Detroit — Chrysler Group LLC will set up a separate dealership network to sell cars made by Italy’s Fiat Group SpA when they are reintroduced in the U.S. later this year.

The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker said existing Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers will get a chance to apply to sell the Italian Fiats, but they must be able to operate separate facilities with different sales and service teams in order to win a franchise.

Fiat, which last sold cars in the U.S. in the 1980s, will return to the country in December with the debut of the Fiat 500, a highly efficient, very European-looking small car. Other Fiat models are likely for the U.S., but the company has not made announcements beyond the 500, known in Italy as the Cinquecento.

Read the full article here.

  

Chrysler to Sell Electric Fiat 500 in U.S. beginning in 2012

Fiat will sell an all electric 500 in the U.S. starting in 2012. I will have to say that if the 500 has a good launch in the states later this year and follows with the electric version in 2012 this car will be a formidable player in the small car segment. It will go from being a relative unknown in the U.S. to a major player very quickly.

From Car and Driver.com:

After showing a “design study” of an electrified Fiat 500 at this year’s Detroit auto show, Chrysler is confirming its plans to develop and market a battery-electric 500 for U.S. consumption beginning in 2012.

Chrysler and Fiat have previously said that the Americans will handle the electric vehicles for the allied partnership, and this 500EV will be the first EV from the companies. Before the two tied up, Chrysler had planned to build a whole roster of electric vehicles, beginning in 2010. Bankruptcy intervened and that plan appears to have changed.

Read the full article here.

  

Chrysler comeback closer than people think?

With all the talk about the lack of product for Chrysler and Dodge, the Detroit Free Press takes a harder look and some feel there is a lot more in the works than most give credit. In the next 12 to 18 months, look for a totally new experience when you enter a Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat showroom. The Chrysler comeback might be closer to reality than most of us could have imagined.

We feel the barometer will be how well the Fiat 500 performs when hitting the showroom floors later this year!

We all know Chrysler won’t reap the benefits of its alliance with Fiat until 2012, but that doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare. To the contrary.

This year, Chrysler plans to introduce three new vehicles that are acknowledged leaders in their segments and one new model that gets it into a growing and potentially lucrative new market.

The first Fiat model, the 500, will also arrive, giving Chrysler dealers a sophisticated and chic little car that’s smaller and considerably less expensive than the Mini Cooper.

Read the full article here.

  

Fiat 500 to go into production in December

The folks at Chrysler/Fiat have to be excited about the news that the Fiat 500 will go into production in Mexico this December! This little machine is an eye grabber and can’t come soon enough for the dealerships that will well it as a Fiat 500. The competition with the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Cruze should make for some good sport. I hear some of the salespeople at Chrysler dealerships are already comparing Marchionne to the legendary Lee Iacocca! Time will tell but hey, nothing like setting the bar high!

From AutoNews.com:

TOLUCA, Mexico (Reuters) — Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said Chrysler will invest $550 million in Mexico to begin production of the compact Fiat 500 model car.

The investment will retool a production site developed by Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy in June under the management control of Fiat. The investment will allow the plant outside Mexico City to begin production by December, said Marchionne, who also heads Fiat.

Read full article here.

  

Fiat will bring an Alfa Romeo to Chrysler showrooms next year

alfa-romeo-mito

Fiat has already announced that they will bring the Fiat 500 to Chrysler showrooms in the U.S. in 2010, and now they’ve announced that the Alfa Romeo MiTo will also be available in America next year.

“The MiTo is going to help us re-establish the Alfa brand in the United States,” said Richard Gadeselli, vice president for communications of the Fiat Group, in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters here.

Though Alfa Romeo left the American market in 1995, the MiTo hatchback will not really be the first new Alfa to appear in the United States since then. The 8C Competizione and Spider have been available through select Ferrari and Maserati dealers since last year. Considering the stratospheric prices of the limited-edition, hand-built 8C, the MiTo will be the first new Alfa intended for general audiences.

Both the MiTo and the 500 will be sold at Chrysler — not Ferrari — dealerships, though they will still wear Alfa and Fiat badges. American-market prices have not been announced, but $20,000 or so seems likely for the MiTo and mid-teens for the 500.

The new Alfa is aimed at “an active, thrill-seeking, performance-minded 20-something.”

I think this is a great move by Fiat. The Fiat 500 and the MiTo will give Chrysler dealerships hip vehicles that appeal to younger drivers who like the Mini Cooper and other small imports. The marketing campaign should be fun to watch.

  

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