Only a year ago, the bankruptcy of Chrysler had left many of their dealership on edge for whether or not they would even have products to sell. Dealers spared the worst of the 2009 turmoil entered 2010 business as usual knowing that a customer base will be looking for a fresh, reasonably-priced offering to compete in the B-Segment car. As battle of domestic brands already features the Chevy Aveo and the Ford Fiesta, Chrysler Group dealerships are eagerly awaiting the Fiat 500’s arrival. However, unique marketing and distribution channel being created for reintroducing the Italian auto brand back to North America could derail some dealers’ enthusiasm.
Intentions were never formally declared, it appeared initially that the little Fiat 500 was going to be found as a companion for all existing Chrysler dealerships. Instead, only a select number of dealerships within 125 markets will be dedicated to brand requiring separate sales and service staff treating buyers to the Fiat to a more specialized acquaintance with the new car. Covering 41 states, future Fiat sales centers will be required to submit proposals at the end of July showing worthiness for becoming a chartered member of the dealership chain as the Fiat 500 will be sold in the United States. Considering the Fiat subcompact’s impact on international marketplaces, the first American Fiat 500 models is on par to go like gangbusters as the vehicle is expected to fetch young and trendy customers into the selected showrooms.
As General Motors dealt with their recovery from financial ruins by consolidating their brands, Chrysler Group is clearly going the other way to redefine their vehicle selection. Dividing trucks into a distinct Ram brand last year, Fiat’s entrance is formally placing another layer on the Pentastar’s growing totem pole. Debuting with the Fiat 500 this fall under a $25,000 base price, a Cabrio version will join the U.S. lineup later next year. Without a planned release but in the works is an all-electric Fiat 500 which could compete with the Nissan Leaf as the market segment matures. Rumours also surrounds that a four-door variant of the Fiat 500 is all-but confirmed for the North American market for a future offering.
Expecting for the dealership network to increase if the brand succeeds in the United States, the little cars of Fiat will attempt to earn respect alongside still closely kept Chrysler products.