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Fiat is behind on there dealership plan. 40 dealerships ready out of 130 is....well...... BAD. If your trying to launch a car that's new to the markets with a brand that is once again emerging into a country it's never been in for 40 years now, slowing down the process isn't helping anyone.

This has me wondering, is Fiat off to a bad start already, or is the interest in these cars so low that the 40 ready dealerships in USA are ok for the nation's need currently?



Forty of the 130 Fiat dealers that will eventually sell the new Fiat 500 are now able to sell cars, Laura Soave, head of Fiat in North America, said Thursday.

Fiat, which started selling the 500 microcar in March, is behind schedule on opening its dealerships but wanted to make sure each franchise owner had an appropriate showroom before opening, Soave said.

"I would love them to be open at all of the same time," Soave said. "But the first impressions are unbelievably important to us so we want to make sure that we get them correct."

Fiat sold 500 of its Fiat 500s in March and will see that number increase in April, said Soave, who was in New York on Thursday to unveil the Fiat 500 Cabrio at the New York International Auto Show.

"The longest any car has sat on the lot is 19 days, which is one of the fastest turning times," Soave said.

The Fiat 500 Cabrio, which goes on sale this spring, starts at $19,500, or $4,000 more than the base model. The cloth-top roof comes in red, black and tan.

"The Fiat 500 Cabrio is the only four-seat cabrio in the market priced below $20,000," she said.
the above is from... http://www.freep.com/article/20110422/BUSINESS01/104220328/40-130-Fiat-dealers-able-sell-cars-exec-says
 

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If she's so concerned about initial appearances, you would think that Fiat would have opened these dealerships when they said they would.

My guess would be that the initial "rush" will die down until people see if these cars are as reliable as prior Fiats, or if they will be non-lemons. If they prove reliable, then people will think about them again. They really do have one shot at this, imho.
 

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I see it somewhat differently. Fiat has already made quite a bang in the market. Looking at the Quebec market as an example, Mini has 4 dealers. Quebec is HUGE, and yet, Mini sells here. Now look at the Fiat brand, they have about 12 dealers looking quickly. Already they have more exposure, and now construction is starting at most of the dealers to implement the Fiat brand. Quite smart I find, they made a splash when Fiat's started arriving on the lots, and another splash when the new dealerships start to sprout.
Im really excited to see the new extensions, filled with Fiat cars, Fiat accessories and salesman that KNOW Fiats!
 

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FIAT needs to ADVERTISE. I heard they were waiting for more Studios to open before launching their advertising campaign. :confused:

what about the 40 Studios that are open? the ones that busted their butts to make the March 1st deadline? as it is right now, there's no incentive for the dealers to have opened early. they could have drug their feet, saved some $$ and opened late when the advertising campaign kicks into gear.

I'm REALLY disappointed that I've not seen ONE commercial for the FIAT. NOT ONE! :mad:
 

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  • The advertising campaign is practically invisible where I live.
  • How does Mazda sell its Mazda 2 with advertising for $3k less?
  • I think Laura Soave is mistaken or is covering up, concerning the Fiat studios. The dealer where I bought doesn't have any parts or anything in back, yet they are selling cars.
 

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I'll be heading to the Cary, NC dealer in May to do a personal inventory of their owner support, sales, current stock, service and parts availability.

It'll be interesting watching these develop, including any marketing ventures.

Have you seen any online ads anywhere?
 

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I get Fiat 500 "banner ads" all of the time now, but that is only because I've gone to the Fiat USA website and built a number of cars there. From what I understand about online advertising (which, admittedly is not much ...), the cookies you pick up visiting Fiat's site makes their ads pop up on various other sites.

I saw some bus stop side ads in Vancouver BC while there on vacation last week, but not a single 500 driving around. No ads or cars in Seattle while there on the same trip. Same gig here in the Cincinnati, OH area (but our dealership isn't open yet, to be somewhat fair).

Did see the first "500 vs. Mini" comparo test in the latest Car and Driver, however ....
 
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