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  • William Maley
    William Maley
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    Fiat Dealers Are Feeling The Strain

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    October 8, 2013

    Fiat dealers have been feeling the strain since the brand started selling vehicles in 2011 and it appears that it is only going to get worse. Automotive News reports that only 45 percent of the 2010 Fiat dealers in the U.S. are making a profit. Moreover, the majority of those dealers happen to be tied in with other Chrysler dealerships. This means other dealers are losing their shirts if they don't have any other storefronts.

    "I think most dealers have been disappointed in the performance of their Fiat dealerships," said Alan Haig, president of automotive services for Presidio Group.

    Making the matters even worse is the large 24 percent decline in sales Fiat saw in September sales. This means sales so far for the year stand around 33,000 units, the same number as last year. Most of decline can be attributed to 500. As for the 500L, it still is too early to tell as it went on sale back in the summer.

    "It's sad to say, but it's become a stepchild. Chrysler doesn't want to hear that, but that's the reality," said an unnamed Chrysler dealer.

    Many Fiat dealers were counting on Alfa Romeo to help bring more people in. But a recent report says that the Alfa Romeo 4C will will instead be sold in Maserati stores. Add in the fair number of delays for other Alfa Romeo models, and many dealers are left wondering if they'll ever see the brand.

    Now Fiat has said there is a new model that will help dealers "take the next step", but that will not happen till 2015.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Agree'd :yes:

    Worse yet, these stand alone dealerships must have not looked at the terrible history this company has had in the US. Hate to say it but Italy is one of the laziest counteries around. I know some will take me to task for this comment, but Fiat left america as a terrible company with terrible service, terrible quality, in essence JUNK Auto's. The dealership here in Seattle has over 200 Fiats in stock and you rarely see them on the road. Lucky they are tied into a Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep dealership. Otherwise I suspect they would have filed bankruptcy and closed already.

    Funnier yet is after building this fancy show room and having all these Fiats out in front from last year to this summer, they now have put all the Fiats in the back and parks the other family rides in front where they actually make money.

    If the story is true and they are going to sell the Alfa Romeo via the Maserati stores, you might as well just put a stick in many of these stand alone Fiat dealers as they will not survive to 2015.

    Interesting is looking at the dealership reviews and yelp, FIAT is not winning any fans or quality. Here was one of the nicer reviews I read this morning.


    My Review Of FIAT of Kirkland:

    The internet sales manager, Don, was the only person at this dealership who cared about my experience. I paid $5k over MSRP for an Abarth, had the finance guy put GAP coverage on the sale I told him I did NOT want (who would pay $800 for something they can get for $20/year from their insurance), and it took 2 weeks and 7 calls (the last to Don) to get a return call from the service department in order to get the sideskirts fixed (which were coming off the brand new car).

    When I returned to have the GAP coverage removed and refunded and also cancel my extended warranty the finance manager, Larry, was downright rude. When I emailed in scans of the paperwork asking for confirmation of receipt, I still (1 week later) have not received any confirmation. This dealership does not care about you, they just want to take your money and treat you like dirt afterwards. AVOID THIS DEALERSHIP LIKE THE PLAGUE.

    My experience has been so poor, I am trading in my 3 month old Abarth at a loss and purchasing another car so I don't have to deal with this dealership ever again. I have not even put 3000 miles on the Abarth. This has been the WORST dealer experience I have ever had.

    This person rated them 1.8 out of 5 stars. Fiat will not last with service like this. Seems they still have not learned how to build quality or sell quality and service. Sad state of the Chrysler/Fiat delerships but this is also my own experiance as to why I now stay away from them. :nono:

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    It's perplexing how someone thought that selling Fiats in the this country was a good idea, and then to have the initial lone model be a mini-clown car. I think someone had Mini-envy. I also don't think that anybody's breaking down doors to buy an Alfa either.

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    What person in their right mind would have opened a stand alone Fiat dealer just to sell one model!?

    this whole topic reminds of the misery i encountered selling suzuki.......

    here is the thing. to build a car brand, you need to sell some mainstream market models. then the other thing, you need to promote your brand like you will be there forever and that you are a player and are professional and that you have the customer's back. You need to be available with lots of dealers and convey the notion that you will not be selling them something that you won't be around to back up, even in 10 years.

    the dealerships that sell them need to be as sleek and inviting as the major brands, and have customer service and sales process that is to the same standard as such.

    As even Mazda is finding out, to survive, its not just the mechanical excellence, you have to provide meat and potatoes in the major segments to compete. 10 miatas in the showroom won't do it. A mazda3 (compact car) , mazda6 (midsize family car), cx5 (smaller crossover), cx9 (larger crossover) are sort of the major segments and if you want to survive and be taken as not a niche, you have to sell in those segments. Those segments have staying power and will be the basis for your selling operation for years.

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    What person in their right mind would have opened a stand alone Fiat dealer just to sell one model!?

    Those that thought the fiat was the next Mini? Weren't a lot of mini dealers stand-alones?

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    Never seen a mini stand alone dealership, they all seem to be in the same place as a BMW dealership. Same thing I noticed about the SmartCar dealerships are all next door to an MB dealership or at least they are here in the Pacific NW.

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