We've been hearing about Chrysler selecting dealerships to represent the Fiat brand and its upcoming 500 minicar that was just unveiled in U.S.-trim at the Los Angeles Auto Show since early August. Now it's official, Chrysler's announced the 130 dealerships selected to initially represent the Fiat brand in the U.S.
Chrysler sent the selected dealerships letters of intent in late October, but only just released the dealerships selected today. Although the dealerships have been selected to sell the 500 minicar, most likely aren't quite ready to begin taking orders. Prior to officially taking orders for the 500, the dealerships must satisfy the requirements in the letter of intent and also complete the changes promised in proposals to Chrysler earlier this year.
Initially, Chrysler was looking for a total of 165 dealerships in 119 markets around the U.S., but only announced 130 so far. Chrysler says it will however, continue searching to add another 35 dealerships. In order to get the 165 desired dealerships, Chrysler is now talking to non-Chrysler affiliated dealerships about selling the small car. Although the dealerships wouldn't host another Chrysler Group product, it wouldn't be such a big deal as all the Fiat dealerships will be known as "Fiat of [insert city name]."
As of now, the dealerships are located in markets Chrysler sees potential for large small car sales growth. It's unclear at this point if the dealerships may be expanded as more Fiat products are sold, likely including the Alfa Romeo brand. Predictably, the number of dealerships in each state varies wildly -- from zero to a whopping 17 in California. In total, the 130 dealerships are spread across 36 states.
Dealers should be ready to begin accepting orders shortly with deliveries starting early next year.
Source: Chrysler, Automotive News (Subscription required)