AN columnist: Here's how Fiat could become an "urban legend"

Fiat 500 Coupé Zagato – Click above for high-res image gallery

"We're on the threshold of the next big thing in dealerships" says Automotive News' executive editor Edward Lapham. What's Lapham referring to? Well, as he puts it, some automaker – maybe Fiat – will carve out a niche by selling its cars in the U.S. at "reasonably sized stores" – not to be confused with dealerships – in rejuvenated cities.

Lapham says that most of today's dealerships are in the suburbs and are clustered together "like teenagers in a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon." This, according to Lapham, has left many downtown areas without a single dealership. That's where a brand like Fiat could step in and carve its own niche. Yes, most Fiat dealerships will be located in the burbs, but the automaker has appointed dealers in the downtown areas of major cities too.

The Fiat 500 has urban appeal and, as such, that should be sold where its buyers are – in America's upscale, restored cities. Putting a Fiat store smack dab in the middle of renovated warehouses, microbreweries and skyscrapers does seem to make sense. Why? Well, the 500 is hailed by many as an urban dream machine. So, why not target it directly at urbanites.

Fiat 500 Coupe Zagato concept: Geneva 2011
Fiat 500 Coupe Zagato concept: Geneva 2011
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Live photos copyright ©2011 Noah Joseph / AOL

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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