Chrysler To Introduce Fiat Dealer Net

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chrysler to introduce fiat dealer net

After a year of bitter battles with its dealers in the wake of a bankruptcy-era dealer cull, Chrysler is about to do the unthinkable: start a whole new dealer network to sell Fiats built in Italy by its new owner. The Detroit News reports that

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 will return to the US by the end of this year, starting with the Mexican-built Fiat 500.

The new Fiat dealers will be located in 125 major metropolitan areas in the US, and the network should be in place by September, some three months before the 500 debuts. A Chrysler statement gives a few guidelines for dealers seeking a Fiat franchise:

Chrysler had said that it would exclusively draw on its dealers to sell Fiat 500s, and the big question now is the extent to which that remains true. Chrysler won’t say if it will charge dealers for a franchise, or what percentage of Fiat dealers will come from the ranks of existing Chrysler dealers, but considering that Alfa Romeo is scheduled to head stateside, and will likely share dealerships with Fiat, expect competition over these franchises to be tight. Even though the last thing Chrysler needs is more dealers.

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  • BklynPete BklynPete on Jul 08, 2010

    Dynamic 88 and Conslaw both make excellent points. Either the Vespa strategy or the all-in for Chrysler dealers selling Fiat makes a whole lot more sense than a stand-alone strategy that dealers will have to borrow hundreds of thousands for against already-leveraged franchises. If I'm posting a lot on this subject, it's because I hate to see otherwise astute business people making dumb mistakes. And to me, Sergio seems to be attempting three-card monte with Chrysler dealers.

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Jul 08, 2010

    Rusted Source You make a good point. The top 125 Metro areas isn't necessarily synonymous with the top 125 cities. NYC could get two dozen dealers, so could LA. But, I can't know what Fiatsler means, precisely, by 125 major metro areas. So, my point in listing the top 125 cities was to get a rough feel for where these things would sell, and where they won't. I'm certainly not familiar with all 125 cities, but I know some of them. Were I a top Chrylser/Dodge/Jeep dealer in LA, I'd jump on this. Were I a top C/D/J dealer in Grand Rapids, MI. I don't think I'd be at all interested in plowing capital into a stand alone franchise. But again, your point is a good one. I may be wrong in thinking that Chrysler won't get 125 dealers to sign up. There may be 125 dealers in CA who sign up. We'll have to wait and see. I'm going to stick with my prediction.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.