Fiat US sales will be restricted to strong small car markets

Fiat US sales will be restricted to strong small car markets

Chrysler Group on Monday said it had begun selecting dealers to reintroduce Fiat in the United States.

Dealers will begin selling the Mexican-made 500 late this year and the cabrio in 2011.

Chrysler Group expects to select dealers in about 125 markets identified for growth potential in the small car segment. Fiat dealers will be located in approximately 41 states, the automaker said.

"The Fiat dealer network will be appropriately sized to serve the market opportunity," said Chrysler network and fleet chief Peter Grady. "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, personalised customer experience."

Application guides will be sent to dealers in the identified markets containing specific Fiat dealer requirements and instructions on submitting a proposal. The guide presents details on facility, sales strategy, accessory sales, service and parts departments, training curriculum and financial requirements.

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, capitalisation 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 brand.
  • Fiat team - A separate team will be required to sell and service the brand.
  • 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 brand.

Dealers in the target markets will be invited to attend a meeting in Chrysler Group World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Chrysler plans to officially announce its US Fiat dealer network locations in September.

The move returns Fiat to the US for the first time in 25 years and also gives Chrysler a small car.

Used Fiats can still be found on US trading websites. They are now mostly the 124 'Pininfarina' cabriolet from up to about 1984.