As many as 119 U.S. dealers will shortly learn that they’ve been chosen from close to 1,000 applicants hoping to represent Italy’s Fiat brand as it prepares its return to the U.S. market.
The first of those retailers should be up and running before the end of the year, according to Chrysler Group LLC, Fiat’s American partner, with sales to begin in December with the launch of the Fiat 500 minicar.
The decision to go with outlets in 119 markets suggests that Fiat is taken its time before picking dealers. The brand originally stated a goal of having 165 stores operating in the U.S. by the end of 2011, and 200 in business further down the road.
“We have carefully considered each of these dealer proposals looking for the best locations and the most creative plans,” said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s Vice President of Network Development and Fleet Operations. “We are thrilled with their level of interest in securing the Fiat franchise and in the innovative proposals they have submitted. We’re excited to be at the point where we now can start appointing our Fiat dealer network.”