2012 Fiat 500c - Click above for high-res image gallery

Fiat dealerships aren't popping up quite as quickly as the original plans showed they would, but the retail outlets could get a push now that the automaker is looking outside of the Chrysler family. Automotive News reports that Fiat is now offering franchises to non-Chrysler dealers for the first time. There are currently 59 Fiat dealers nationwide, and the automaker plans to open 130 stores by the end of 2011

At one point, there were reportedly 130 Chrysler dealers that had been approved for a Fiat store, but many deals fell through for various reasons. A Chrysler spokesperson tells AN that letters of intent have already been sent out to seven non-Chrysler dealers.

While opening up the franchising process will likely speed up the pace of adding Fiat stores to the U.S., there are still many hurdles for the Italian make. For starters, the 500 is currently the only Fiat available in the U.S., and it could sit alone on the show floor for at least another year. And so far, Fiat has insisted that new franchises will only be awarded to those with plans to build a standalone store.

Though it doesn't sound like a great situation to us, we're guessing there are at least 71 more entrepreneurs willing to sign on the dotted line to gain another foothold in the car business.


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  • 24 Comments
      HuskerBadger
      • 3 Years Ago
      The first Fiat store in the Milwaukee area is a standalone store. Ironically, it was originally custom built as a HUMMER dealership just a few years ago.
      Steven W. Diffy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally saw one in person. It is a cute little car. Have not driven one yet. But I wish they could get the mpg above 40. It may take that to get me serious about one.
        RJC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven W. Diffy
        It does get well above the stated 40 mpg. Remember, the 500 has been on sale for over 4 years already worldwide (passed 500,000 units back in January). Owner's groups report higher than advertised sticker numbers across the boards.
        Jesus follower!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven W. Diffy
        I liked the outside, it was the inside that would be hard to live with. I sat in one at the auto show last January, was really disappointed with the interior.
          lasertekk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jesus follower!
          It must be a matter of taste. Even though it's a retro interior, I found it both clean and modern (in some respects)
      Dafish
      • 3 Years Ago
      Where the Fiat dealership has been for several months had been a Saturn Dealer. Not sure where this info came from about going outside of Chrysler dealerships when it has already been going on??????
        reattadudes
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dafish
        in case you didn't know, ALL FIAT dealerships are stand-alone. FIAT does not allow the 500 to be sold in the same showroom as any Chrysler products. just because it's an old Saturn dealership means nothing other than it was available real estate. if you went in and asked who owned the dealership, it would indeed be a Chrysler dealer.
      alan
      • 3 Years Ago
      The good news is that there's another model on the way to take up some dealership space. http://www.inautonews.com/us-new-fiat-bravo-to-follow-500s-successful-american-launch
      wnkdvd
      • 3 Years Ago
      For those of us in fly over country, Fiat won't ever be on the automotive menu. The 90% of Americans who live in the cities will be subjected to fix-it-again-tony's newest generation, while those of us on the fringe may see some on the used market in a few years. This is not a significant loss. Those of us who drove and groaned at the POS that was the Fiat 128 in the 70s are not looking forward to the new version. How appropriate that Fiat should attach itself to the biggest loser in American manufacturing, Chrysler. Birds of a feather. You might tempt me with an Alfa Mito, but the run-of-the-mill Fiat will never happen...
        Rick C.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wnkdvd
        Not a problem. You can keep whatever goes for transportation these days in your self-proclaimed fly over country. I'll keep the handful of long-term vintage Fiats in my collection that apparently you and your local mechanics were clueless to the inner workings of. I'm sure my vintage 1967124 Coupe, with an alloy DOHC engine, 5-speed and 4-wheel disk brakes came across as a complete anomaly to those versed in cast iron slow revving engines, 3 speed transmissions and drum brakes.
        reattadudes
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wnkdvd
        hate to break it to you, but the 70s have been over for a little bit. Fiat ranked higher in a German customer satisfaction survey that any German brand. have you asked anyone you know abroad about their experience with their 500? just bought my 500 on Sunday in Los Angeles. it will be here tomorrow. sincerely, a loyal Dodge/Chrysler buyer for over 30 years who just never seems to have any of the problems all of you never-owned-a-Chrysler-product-in-my-life folks "know" about.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fix It Again Tony
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Uh-huh. It's Mercedes owning Chrysler all over again.
        reattadudes
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        um, not really. in case you didn't know, the first order of business for Mercedes, when they "merged" with Chrysler, was to get the cash. less than an hour after the "merger of equals" was complete, Mercedes wired ELEVEN BILLION DOLLARS (no, that's not a typo) from Chrysler's account right to Stutttgart. this is the only reason Mercedes wanted Chrysler; just for that cash. Fiat, on the other hand, has done exactly the opposite, injecting cash into Chrysler. where Chrysler's offerings got consistently worse under Mercedes' stewardship, the opposite has happened under Fiat.
      Steve
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think all of Chryslers dealerships should be offered a Fiat franchise and they should not have a their own standalone store. Fiat needs to re-enter the American market and fast and should make it simple cost effective procces for each dealership. Put up new signs. Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat/Jeep. Period. Other dealerships should do the same.
        rbnhd1144
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steve
        My thoughts exactly. Chrysler dealers across the country could use a small car and this would be a quick way to get the 500 on their showroom floor, Keep it simple.
      Jesus follower!
      • 3 Years Ago
      They have a dealership going up about 15 minutes from my house.
      Lachmund
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fiat is only hurting themselves with the Chrysler Deal. Don't know what they are thinking. Noone in Europe is gonna buy a Lancia badget Chrysler...they should know that.
      tamaca1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fiat and Chrysler. I'm liking it. I'm also thinking this is an opportunity to offer a sports coupe that will fill a void Americans yearn for. The mystique and attraction to Italian automobile design and engine placement. However, we like big brutish power. So, I think Fiat could send over a sexy design, two seat coupe, very Italian, light, simple and cheap to produce...and then put a Chrysler Viper V10 in the middle. *Drool*
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