2009 fiat 500 convertible 500c 2 018Enlarge Photo
Those fearing that the Fiat 500 would appear in the United States as a captive import can rest easy. It was expected that the merger between Fiat and Chrysler meant that the American company’s dealer network would be used to sell Fiats. Others speculated that the cars like the 500 would be sold with Dodge badges to the point that a European Chrysler dealer installed the famous Ram emblem on their Fiat 500 loaner.
The Detroit Bureau is now reporting that the little car that has caught the world by storm will remain a Fiat when sold in separate showrooms. Current Chrysler-brand dealers will be getting first dibs on the first 200 planned Fiat dealerships.
What Fiat is asking from the dealers may be a bit too hard for them to accomplish: the conditions for selling the hot little 500 are that the dealerships need to create a separate showroom and service department instead of selling the brand together with other Chrysler products.
The Detroit Bureau reports that the starting cost to establish a stand-alone dealership starts at $1 million and can reach over $5 million easily. This will be difficult considering the tough economic times and difficulty for approving loans for expansion.
However, once the seed for selling Fiat 500s is started, more Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia products should follow shortly, giving those who want an Italian car at Ford prices the opportunity to do so after a 30 year absence.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]