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Chrysler Courts Potential Fiat Dealers

Four hundred dealers invited to submit proposals to sell Fiats.

by on Aug.30, 2010

Select dealers will sell the Fiat 500 later this year.

Looking to establish 165 Fiat showrooms in the U.S. by the end of the year, Chrysler hosted select Chrysler Group dealers interested in selling the Italian cars at a meeting Monday.

Fiat, which controls Chrysler after the U.S. automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy, wants to establish its dealerships in metropolitan areas chosen for their high concentrations of small-car registrations.

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The dealers were asked to submit proposals for the new franchises by Sept. 22. Chrysler expects to name those chosen for Fiat franchises 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.”

The dealer representatives learned about Fiat history, 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 500 will be built in Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico, plant.

The North American version of the 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 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.

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