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Chrysler Sends Letters Awarding Fiat Franchises

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On: Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Sends Letters Awarding Fiat Franchises

Chrysler has started the process of awarding Fiat dealer franchises. Letters of approval were sent out yesterday to those dealerships chosen from approximately 600 applicants. Chrysler selected dealers from over 100 specific markets that were pre-selected as those with high growth potential for small cars. The March launch of the Fiat 500 mini car, produced in Toluca, Mexico, marks the return of Fiat to the U.S. market. The small Fiat will be available in 4 different versions: a convertible and a sporty Abarth version in 2011, an electric model in 2012, and a high-roof, four-door model in 2013.

Chrysler has reported that the company is considering dealers other than those from the Chrysler network. Chrysler stated: “Dealers from outside the Chrysler Group dealer network also have shown great interest in securing the Fiat franchise, a selection team has been reviewing proposals from Chrysler dealers.”

According to Chrysler VP Peter Grady: “We have carefully considered each of these dealer proposals looking for the best locations and the most creative plans.” Names of those dealerships awarded franchises were not released.

Laura Soave, of Fiat North America, stated “some of the proposals are extremely creative.”

“Some dealers will build new state-of-the-art facilities, while others plan to convert on-site used car and other buildings into Fiat dealerships,” the company said in a press release. “Some dealers will purchase former auto dealerships, while others are snapping up empty retail stores in their markets.”

Chrysler projects that U.S. sales of the Fiat will reach 50,000 units in the 2011 based on market studies of the Fiats’ contender, the Mini which sold 54,077 vehicles in the United States in 2008.

The new Fiat showroom is planned to be decorated with a modern Italian design and it will be called the “Fiat Studio,” as Chrysler believes that buyers will have an appreciation for Italian culture and style. Each new Chrysler franchise will allow for 20 to 37 employees who will represent only Fiat.

According to Auto News.com: “Ally Bank, Chrysler's preferred lender, formerly known as GMAC, will offer floorplan packages for Fiat dealers, along with real estate and working capital loans.”

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