By on February 19, 2013

Are you a Fiat dealer looking for an Alfa Romeo franchise? Well, better hope you’re doing solid volumes and are making your customers happy.

Automotive News caught up with Peter Grady, Chrysler’s VP of Network Development and Fleet, at the NADA conference in Orlando. Grady was candid about what it will take for Fiat stores to get an Alfa Romeo franchise, specifically, the upcoming 4C sports car that wll relaunch the brand in America

“The 4C is the first vehicle that comes at the end of this calendar year, and it’s going to go to the current Fiat dealers that are performing…So if you’re selling and you’re taking care of your customer, you’ll be first up for Alfa Romeo.”

One sticking point is the lack of service outlets at certain Fiat showrooms located in malls and other unconventional locations. Because, well…the joke about Alfas and service bays tend to write themselves, don’t they. Since the 4C will be the sole Alfa product until 2015, Chrysler will apparently give dealers a pass on building service centers right now, but they must be ready for the 2015 full-line roll out.

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20 Comments on “Volume, Customer Satisfaction To Determine Alfa Allocation – Oh, And Service Bays...”

  • avatar

    Why do the service bays need to be anywhere near the showrooms? Seperate service locations are already common, especially in urban areas with high land costs. Showroom in the city, service out in the boonies.

    That said I expect my local FIAT dealer to get Alfa – they have a very nice showroom/shop built brand new for the FIAT store, and judging by the number toodling around town they are selling plenty of cars. Interestingly, the new store is located immediately behind what was the local Alfa store when they did sell cars here, though totally different ownership. It was Chevy/Saab/Alfa back in the day, still sells Chevy.

    • 0 avatar

      Co-located sales and service speak to having nothing to hide and repeat customers. Passing off buyers to some remote hell where their bad experiences can’t color new victim’s perceptions is a defensive move.

      • 0 avatar

        Whatever. Why would it be a remote hell? The remote BMW service center I regularly drive by outside San Francisco looks pretty nice.

        Hard to have service bays inside a Mall, if that is where your FIAT store happens to be.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope Bergstrom Fiat of Milwaukee gets some Alfa love. They’re one of the only Fiat dealerships in the state, and I imagine they have decent volume given the size of their dealership.

    • 0 avatar

      Sell, sell, sell. The more foot traffic in one location, the more you can sell. Service and new vehicle sales.

  • avatar

    I’m very much the opposite of hip, but I seriously wasn’t aware there even were “Fiat” dealers per se. These are standalones or are they attached to Chrysler dealers?

    • 0 avatar

      Fiat made them build whole separate locations for their “Fiat Studios”. So they’re all stuck with a huge glass palace with no product other than 500’s and used cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, that’s about right. If they were thinking long term with those requirements (more Fiat models, put Alfa in the same glass palace etc) it might make sense, but then the whole Fiat experience could have gone tits up and dealers are stuck with the results.

      • 0 avatar

        The FIAT store in Portland ME is not even owned by the local Chrysler dealer AFAIK. Nor is it particularly large. Room for maybe three small cars in the showroom, 3-4 service bays. Seems about right for the size of the business. Hardly a “huge glass palace”. They do have a TON of cars in stock, but they seem to turn them pretty fast too – I drive by all the time.

    • 0 avatar

      When my local megadealer (Pittsburgh area) took on Fiat, they converted their former Subaru / former Hyundai dealership into a Fiat showroom, which is right across the street from many of their other brands.

      They happen to also sell Chrysler, but it’s miles away.

      I think they move a fair number of 500s (they have 57 in stock), so I wouldn’t be surprised if they also got an Alfa dealership.

  • avatar

    There are 3 dealers in Atlanta area. One i go to for the oil changes is the biggest one with highest sales volume. Judging by a number of Fiats i see on the roads in my area and the half empty service shop at my dealer (not to mention my own Fiat 500 that’s happily tooling around town and have been to Myrtle Beach and South Florida already, picking up over 13K miles in the process), i hope the relibility is there. Alfa, even though it’s based on Fiat, is a whole different animal in complexity, and has a not very good reputation in EU, but if it’s pretty enough, and engaging to drive, who knows, it may be successful.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Just north of NYC Alfredo’s Foreign cars in Larchmont NY. They are a Chrysler dealer but were a Fiat Alfa dealer for many years until they pulled out of the U.S market however they still remained a parts dealer until Fiat returned to the U.S when they re-introduced the franchise.

  • avatar

    I stopped by the local Fiat dealer yesterday, inadvertently as I was dragged to the mall by my spouse. I knew the dealer was there but rarely shop at malls.

    Interesting approach, 3 car showroom, about half the floorspace as the Talbot’s clothing store my wife was visiting, one salesperson (a cute blonde).
    Obviously set up as an easy to exit lease deal if the brand fails.
    $3200 off sticker in big letters on windshield (an “honest” $3200 as there were no dealer add-ons).

  • avatar

    We’ve got two Fiat dealerships in Orlando. One is at Greeneway, which is a massive dealership complex. They’ve got a Ford dealership and then across the access road, a CJD dealership. The Fiat “studio” is a stand alone building, but still clearly a part of the CJD section of the complex. Not sure where their service department is or if it shares facilities with the Chrysler dealer. The other is a part of the Fields Auto Group dealers. In Orlando, Fields also operates the Fisker, Mini, and BMW dealers. They have a CJD dealer, but its 15-20 miles away from the Fiat dealer. The CJD store is in Sandford, whereas the Fiat one is literally right in the hearth of downtown Orlando (used to be the Mini dealer ironically enough). Not sure if they do service at the downtown location as they definitely don’t have much space there.

    I’d imagine at least one if not both of those dealers would get the Alfas. Either one would seem to be a good candidate.

  • avatar

    I think the Fiat dealership in Louisville occupies the old Nissan dealership, which moved down the road.
    Should have plenty of room for sales and service.

  • avatar

    Launching a brand in the U.S. with a $60K car….pure genius.

  • avatar

    Would a Viper engine fit in the old 8C body?

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