Although I was grateful to my parents for loaning me a free car through most of college, I have to say I was never exactly proud of the make and model. It was a 2001, gold Plymouth Breeze. While it had some major problems, it served me well enough. But if it wasn’t for the Fiat’s partial ownership of Chrysler, I would never contemplate buying anything from a Chysler dealership, which I assume is exactly why Fiat would like them to build a separate Fiat only dealership to help promote the Fiat 500. I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want the spunky Italian small-car mixed in with Sebrings and Town and Countries.
Unfortunately, Chrylser dealerships are apparently skeptical about the selling power of a single model from Fiat. According to a recent article from The Detroit News, “Chrysler Group LLC dealers expressed caution Tuesday about adding Fiat franchises, concerned whether they’ll sell enough small cars to warrant the cost of a separate dealership.” Its not just another building either, Fiat will apparently require a whole separate parts and service department, including accessories and staff trained specifically in “Fiat sales methods and customer service”. For those dealerships willing to take on the new costs, expect a totally different buying experience from the standard Chrysler dealership.
Hopefully there is enough demand for the Fiat 500 that dealerships do decide to build these separate showrooms. Even more importantly, I hope the demand is high enough to warrant bringing over the Fiat 500 Abarth as they’ve promised.