Fiat plans to add around 30 dealerships across the United States to cater to growing demand in areas where the Italian carmaker is not yet represented. According to Tim Kuniskis, Fiat brand chief for North America, Fiat still has some areas in the US where the carmaker currently does not have representation, citing downtown Chicago and San Francisco as its key markets. Kuniskis revealed that Fiat currently has 170 dealerships in the US and aims to increase that figure to a max of around 200. A spokesman for the Italian carmaker said Chrysler Group already has several Fiat franchise holders in the US which are not Chrysler dealers.
The spokesman said that Fiat will continue to "look for the best partner in the best markets in the best locations" to fill out its network, including non-Chrysler dealers. After experiencing a turbulent start since its March 2011 rollout, the Fiat 500 posted a steady increase in sales, particularly in the first six months of 2012. In May and June 2012, Fiat’s US dealers had a monthly sales average of 24 Fiat 500s, compared to 15 monthly sales average in October 2011.
According to Kuniskis, 25 percent of the 4,003 sales posted in May 2012 were in California, which according to him, indicates that the subcompact popularity will grow nationwide as its sales grow. The Italian carmaker sold 4,004 Fiat 500s in June 2012. Despite the increased sales, the Fiat 500 was named as among the car models which garnered the most number of complained problems. The Fiat, along with the Smart brand, received the lowest score in J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study in June, with 151 problems reported per 100 vehicles. [source: Autonews]