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Chrysler to set up separate Fiat dealer network

Associated Press

Detroit -- Chrysler Group LLC will set up a separate dealership network to sell cars made by Italy's Fiat Group SpA when they are reintroduced in the U.S. later this year.

The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker said existing Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers will get a chance to apply to sell the Italian Fiats, but they must be able to operate separate facilities with different sales and service teams in order to win a franchise.

Fiat, which last sold cars in the U.S. in the 1980s, will return to the country in December with the debut of the Fiat 500, a highly efficient, very European-looking small car. Other Fiat models are likely for the U.S., but the company has not made announcements beyond the 500, known in Italy as the Cinquecento.

Fiat was given control of Chrysler by the U.S. government when the automaker emerged from bankruptcy on June 10, 2009. The company would have run out of cash and been sold off in pieces without roughly $15 billion in aid from the U.S. and Canadian governments. While noting that the company still has a long road ahead to recovery, CEO Sergio Marchionne last month touted Chrysler's first-quarter operating profit, two straight months of sales gains and plans for 16 new or updated vehicles by the end of this year.

The Fiat dealerships will be located in roughly 125 U.S. metropolitan areas that Chrysler has found to have high small-car registration and high potential for growth in selling smaller cars, said spokesman Ralph Kisiel. The company expects to have 200 Fiat dealers in 41 states.

Letters will go out Monday to Chrysler Group's roughly 2,300 dealers nationwide giving them general guidelines for applying to become Fiat dealers. More specific requirements will come in application packets for interested dealers.

"Dealers are going to have to demonstrate how they will market, sell and service Fiat vehicles with a new customer service model," Kisiel said.

He would not say if dealers will have to pay to buy a Fiat franchise. Generally, interested dealers must be in the 125 designated markets, meet customer satisfaction and minimum sales requirements, and show that they have the financial resources to support the brand, Chrysler said in a statement.

Dealers outside the 125 identified markets will be considered for Fiat franchises provided they meet all the performance standards and financial requirements, Kisiel said.

Chrysler hopes to announce the dealership network in September, three months before the 500 is to arrive in the U.S. Chrysler also has announced plans for a 500 convertible and an electric version, but no timing has been revealed for those models to go on sale.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100705/AUTO01/7050372/1148/auto01/Chrysler-to-set-up-separate-Fiat-dealer-network#ixzz0sodmofal

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Some Chrysler dealers to sell Fiats

125 franchises to be in 41 states, company says

BY GREG GARDNER

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Only a select few Chrysler dealers will earn the right to sell the diminutive Fiat 500 when it goes on sale in the U.S. in December, the company said Monday.

Chrysler is inviting about 2,300 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram truck dealers to bid for about 125 Fiat franchises to be located in 41 states.

Dealers will need to make an unspecified investment. In addition, they will be required to find or build a showroom separate from their existing businesses, Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel said.

Fiat, which owns 20% of Chrysler, is planning to offer its first Fiat-branded vehicle in the U.S. since 1995 when it stopped exporting its Alfa Romeo 164 to the U.S. The 500, also known in Europe as the Cinquecento, will be assembled in Chrysler's Toluca, Mexico, assembly plant.

It will be powered by a four-cylinder engine made in Chrysler's Dundee plant. Next year, Chrysler plans to introduce a convertible version of the car, followed by a battery-powered 500 in 2012.

The Toluca plant will be able to make more than 100,000 of the 500s annually, with half to be exported to South America, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said last December.

Kisiel said Chrysler won't choose dealers and locations until it evaluates the proposals. Dealership application guides will be sent to current dealers as early as this week. Chrysler plans to announce some of the Fiat dealers in September.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100706/BUSINESS01/7060332/1331/Some-Chrysler-dealers-to-sell-Fiats

Chrysler to set up separate Fiat dealer network

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chrysler Group LLC will set up a separate dealership network to sell cars made by Italy’s Fiat Group SpA when they are reintroduced in the U.S. later this year.

The Auburn Hills-based automaker said existing Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers will get a chance to apply to sell the Italian Fiats, but they must be able to operate separate facilities with different sales and service teams in order to win a franchise.

Fiat, which last sold cars in the U.S. in the 1980s, will return to the country in December with the debut of the Fiat 500, a highly efficient, very European-looking small car. Other Fiat models are likely for the U.S., but the company has not made announcements beyond the 500, known in Italy as the Cinquecento.

Fiat was given control of Chrysler by the U.S. government when the automaker emerged from bankruptcy on June 10, 2009. The company would have run out of cash and been sold off in pieces without roughly $15 billion in aid from the U.S. and Canadian governments. While noting that the company still has a long road ahead to recovery, CEO Sergio Marchionne last month touted Chrysler’s first-quarter operating profit, two straight months of sales gains and plans for 16 new or updated vehicles by the end of this year.

The Fiat dealerships will be located in roughly 125 U.S. metropolitan areas that Chrysler has found to have high small-car registration and high potential for growth in selling smaller cars, said spokesman Ralph Kisiel. The company expects to have 200 Fiat dealers in 41 states.

Letters will go out today to Chrysler Group’s roughly 2,300 dealers nationwide giving them general guidelines for applying to become Fiat dealers. More specific requirements will come in application packets for interested dealers.

“Dealers are going to have to demonstrate how they will market, sell and service Fiat vehicles with a new customer service model,” Kisiel said.

He would not say if dealers will have to pay to buy a Fiat franchise. Generally, interested dealers must be in the 125 designated markets, meet customer satisfaction and minimum sales requirements, and show that they have the financial resources to support the brand, Chrysler said in a statement.

Dealers outside the 125 identified markets will be considered for Fiat franchises provided they meet all the performance standards and financial requirements, Kisiel said.

Chrysler hopes to announce the dealership network in September, three months before the 500 is to arrive in the U.S. Chrysler also has announced plans for a 500 convertible and an electric version, but no timing has been revealed for those models to go on sale.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100705/BUSINESS01/100705025/1210/Chrysler-to-set-up-separate-Fiat-dealer-network

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