Non-Chrysler Group dealers may receive franchises to sell Fiats, says Marchionne

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, said that there would be some non-Chrysler Group dealers that could receive franchises to sell Fiats.

Marchionne told reporters that there will be a large part of the distribution that will be included in Chrysler's environment. Marchionne was interviewed after President Barack Obama made an appearance at Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly Plant.

Marchionne also revealed that Fiat franchisees may also receive the Alfa Romeo franchise, which will be back in the US in 2012. In addition, Chrysler already has started making pre-production versions of the Fiat 500 minicar at its Toluca, Mexico, factory, and it is up for volume production late in the year.

Fiat's plans include four 500 models -- the base 500 two-door hatch, a convertible, a sporty Abarth and a four-door hatch with a raised roof.

In early July, Chrysler distributed packets to its dealerships in 125 markets in 41 states it thinks are prime markets for small cars. This August, interested dealers will be invited to a briefing on the Fiat franchise at Chrysler's Auburn Hills headquarters.

Proposals from the dealerships would then be reviewed and will afterward, make an announcement of the ones chosen for the Fiat network in September. Marchionne emphasized that Fiat will be a standalone franchise.

He said that Fiat's potential is unique because there is nothing Jeepish about the 500. Chrysler planners believe that the Fiat 500 will be popular mainly in urban markets where there is much traffic and where parking spaces are at a premium.

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