Chrysler's Fiat Experience covers how to become Fiat Dealership

By Automotive Staff | August 30, 2010
Today, 500 prospective Fiat dealers attended "The Fiat Experience" in downtown Detroit. The summit, an information session, let dealers in on what to expect once signing on to sell Fiat products. The conference informed dealers on the sizable investment they'd be making, including staffing, training, marketing, inventory, service, parts, and -- most importantly -- the facilities. With the Fiat 500 expected to hit showrooms by December, dealers and Fiat alike have their work cut out for them. One major concern of the dealers in attendance is the required standalone showroom Chrysler is requiring for Fiat sales. While Chrysler looks to separate Fiat from other Chrysler products, the idea of a separate facility isn't sitting well with many dealers. While the initial investment will be fairly sizable, many dealers admit that another building just isn't feasible, especially where land costs are at a premium. Alan Helfman, a Chrysler dealer in Houston, Texas, expects to spend up to $500,000 to readying his facilities for Fiat vehicles. "You have to look at the long-term strategy to turn it into profit," he told The Detroit News. "If you are not a bit liquid, you shouldn't be in the game. This is a very liquid business."
Full press release can be found below. Chrysler's deadline for applications is September 22, at which time it will whittle the number of submissions down to just 200 dealers in select target markets. Dealers will be notified in the fourth quarter, with the first Fiat 500 deliveries scheduled to take place in December. The selected dealers will likely sell Alfa Romeo models, come 2012, when the Italian luxury brand is speculated to make its return to the U.S. on a wide scale. Chrysler Group LLC Hosts 400 Dealers at Fiat Experience August 30, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC today hosted about 400 Chrysler Group dealers to outline the requirements to become a Fiat dealer in the United States. The dealers met with the Chrysler Group team responsible for establishing a Fiat retail network by the end of this year. The company wants Fiat dealerships in about 165 locations, in metropolitan areas chosen for their high concentration of small-car registrations. Dealers left today’s meeting armed with the information needed to submit a competitive proposal for a Fiat franchise. Dealers have been asked to submit their proposals by Sept. 22. Chrysler Group expects to name its Fiat dealers in the fourth quarter. “The Fiat brand offers our dealers the opportunity to be part of a unique experience,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “Our dealers will be able to interact with a group of individuals that are not part of their current customer base. These are individuals interested in Italian automotive design coupled with fuel efficient technology. Our dealers will be the key point of contact with our customers, and thereby, a crucial part of the success of the Fiat brand.” Chrysler Group dealers located in the targeted markets were invited to attend today’s meeting where they learned about the rich history of the Fiat brand, the U.S. product plans, volume expectations, competitors, and dealership facility and training requirements. “We have determined the areas of the country where they can succeed and grow,” said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s Vice President of Network Development and Fleet. “Now they must submit proposals detailing their plan for representing Fiat, from the showroom to sales, marketing and after sales.” The new Fiat retail network will begin selling the U.S. version of the Fiat 500 late this year, and the Fiat 500 Cabrio model in 2011. The Fiat 500 will be built in Toluca, Mexico. The North American version of the Fiat 500 will be equipped with Fiat’s 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE) featuring the MultiAir system. The engine is manufactured in the United States. MultiAir is a sophisticated technology that delivers an increase in power up to 10 percent and a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions up to 10 percent when compared to similar engines. The Fiat 500 also will feature advanced technology intelligently adapted for the North American market. via Chrysler courtesy of Motor Trend Staff