• Nov 4, 2009
Fiat 500 - Click above for high-res image gallery

Listening to Chrysler's long and rambling 2010-2014 Business Plan, it was clear that the company and its dealerships are very much looking forward to finally getting the Fiat 500 in North America. Much like what happened when BMW launched the Mini brand eight-odd years ago, it's hoped that the cute little 500 will attract a whole new customer to the Chrysler fold.

In order to properly court those new wallets buyers, Chrysler plans to open "specific interior showroom branded salons" in select dealerships, mostly in metropolitan areas. A dedicated set of salespeople will be assigned to sell the Fiat 500 in the States... ya know, since they otherwise wouldn't know how to sell the important car to American consumers.

There will also be a full line of accessories made available to customize the new car, which we would expect will include unique color and stripe packages both inside and out along with a slew of optional wheel designs. Whatever, make ours an Abarth and we're good. Expect all of this to take place before the end of 2010 as the Fiat 500 finally starts to show up in those selected dealerships.




I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well they might have problems selling the 500 in the US, I don't think they will have any problems selling up here in Canada. Especially in the major centers. Hot little cars like that. Oh ya, they will sell a ton of them and show SMART how it's done.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There won't be any difficulty selling the 500 especially in Abarth livery in the US. When the Abarth 695 arrives, since it is a cooperative venture between Abarth and Ferrari, it's going to open some eyes in a big fat hurry with 180+ horsepower on tap via an automated gearbox using a 1.4L turbo multiair engine.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Salon?

      What kind of marketing idea from Chrysler is this?

      Could they not find a worse way to dispose of money?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's some place free from fat people
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's pretty much probably just a pretty showroom with free refreshments and little things like mood lighting, groovy ambient background music, and some interior designing that will make potential buyers feel "special". After all, Chrysler is bringing in a new foreign brand to the American market, and anything they do to polish and put this car on a pedestal will take greater advantage of this opportunity to abandon the "Old Chrysler" stigma and help them re-emerge as a fresh, modern brand.

        Still, I agree with you that this will probably be a waste of money. Not a GRATUITOUS waste, mind you, since it will probably work to bring in some customers, but this isn't the best way to spend your advertising and PR budget.

        I know mini's are very successful, due in no small part to the numerous variations and customizations available, but it just feels wrong to do the same to the 500. Focusing on only several variants, such as base, sport/enthusiast, and "luxury" would seem to work better in the end.

        But hey, most of this is just my opinion, not based on facts. Mayhaps diluting the market with a myriad of customizations is what the American public want, or what they'll fall for.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good Luck Fiat! Props with the SPECIFIC sales people too.... I remember when Best Buy first tried selling Apple computers, what a disaster. Best Buy's own sales people would tell customers that macs were too expensive, and not worth getting, then everyone wondered why that didn't work out. For round two, there is a dedicated APPLE GUY, and now they are doing just fine. Go figure.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It'll be nice to see a car made in Poland in USA :-D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, buying a Fiat will keep a ton of sales and service people in work.

      I also think that this sales technique should be kept simple. The 500 is in fact rather a sensible small car. I hate all this lifestyle crap and don't like being associated with the fashionistas who buy into it. In Britain most of the buyers are new to Fiat and speak of their 500s as if they were cute toys or a handbags. It's a car!

      It looks like the US will get the 1.4 Multiair with 105hp, and the Abarth with the forthcoming Multiair, which will have 135, or even 170 - 190hp. Fast! All will give at least 42 mpg US. Then there is the convertible of course (roll back fabric roof) and the likely little three door estate (station wagon - ette). I'm sure the details of trim and spec will be different for the US too.

      Fiat has to begin somewhere, and this is a good place.

      More new models will come foe Chrysler/Fiat, but it is imposible for that to happen NOW, as some commentators seem to expect.

      • 5 Years Ago
      so, does buying a FIAT help our GNP?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You need to read up on economics... buying "American" in no way helps your economy. Trade is the key to wealth, and no economy does better isolated.

        If you think [us] Europeans will buy American while you block imports from every other country you are very, very wrong.

        The whole point is that trade creates [more] jobs, wealth and GNP for both sides.

        And aren't you Americans supposed to be capitalists? You buy the product that offers the best value for your money, regardless of it's origins, and the market regulates itself [by innovating, research, adjusting prices and creating better quality products for you to buy].
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes it will.

        Do you think a Fiat 500 is just built in Europe and then magically transported to a dealership in the US.

        No, it has to be transported here, prepped for delivery and then sold and serviced all of which add to our GDP as they are done by people working in America.

        I am pretty sure Fiat has said they want to build 500s in North America in the future for sure if not the United States specifically.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's one thing to qualify select dealers to sell these attractive cars - I rented and drove one in Italy last summer - but why take a economical car and suddenly make it overly pretentious and that much more costly to would-be consumers? Look at how BMW markets the Mini and clone that successful strategy.

      No need to make dealers construct adjacent to their minivan showrooms some elite hipster "club" with valvet ropes, etc. As I said its a nice car but lets be real: this (purportedly Mexico built for the US market) car is never going to be a Maserati even with an Arbarth package.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Um, they are marketing it exactly like the MINI. The MINI dealer in my area started as a boutique inside the BMW dealer, and MINI's have tons and tons of customizations. The 500 sold as a cheap economy car can't be profitable. And if it is gussied up, people will expect a little more service for their money. They are marketing it exactly as the need to for it to be successful and PROFITABLE.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every pic of the Abarth I've seen has that tacky striping. That better be optional if they're expecting to steal any style-conscious Mini drivers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the 500 is going to be the 'New Hotness' of '10, if marketed correctly.
      Carlos
      • 5 Years Ago
      All of this news about Fiat products showing up as Chrysler products makes me giddy but a little sad at the same time because its taken an outside company to light a fire under Chrysler's butt to get them to sell exciting products. On the flip side at least we're getting an 8C based Viper........drool.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the salon will looks something like this

      http://newsfromdommo.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/popupstore2_blog.jpg

      And it really improve the image of the model. Here does!

      The car it's so cool and I heard that the new FIAT 1.4 Multiair goes really good although I prefer it in a MiTo QV :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well doesn't Toyota have Scion as a brand within a brand? I own a Scion and the customer service is a totally different experience than buying a regular Toyota (read: much much better). The Scions are also in a different area of the dealership but with "hipper" decor. If the 500 is kept within a certain - affordable - price point, it might be a winner. All the Chrysler/Dodge dealers in my area are gone (Southern Miami area). The far and few ones I have seem in other areas are run down hideous looking dealers - and they plan to sell a "stylish" car in these dumps? These dealers will need a VERY expensive makeover - time to call in HGTV!
    • Load More Comments