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From Dealers Edge
Can 165 stores be up and running by next February?

(9/23/2010)


DealersEdge Headlines

Chrysler says the response from dealers seeking a Fiat franchise has exceeded its expectations.

Yesterday was the deadline to submit a proposal for a Fiat dealership.

As the Detroit News reports, production of the Fiat 500 hatchback for North America begins in December in Mexico.

Plans for future vehicles include convertible, sporty and electric versions of the Fiat 500. The Alfa Romeo brand will return to the United States with a mid-size car and crossover in 2012, followed by a larger SUV and luxury sedan, as well as some smaller cars.

Chrysler will begin evaluating the dealership proposals immediately.

Chrysler wants dealers to have a fully operational separate showroom in place with trained staff by February, before the marketing campaign gets under way in March.
 

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I don't think this is a change from what was published previously, is it? I always understood production starts in December so depending on how long it takes to transport the cars here we should see one early January (I would think). Does anyone know what a typical delivery time is for a car built in Mexico? (From Europe the rule was always 3 months from order acceptance to delivery - at least for here in the Midwest.)
 

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I think you have the time line correct when most will see cars. By Feb 28th dealers should have a decent inventory pool to order from. Typical domestic car orders are 6-8 weeks, stretching, sometimes, to 10.

About 100,000 Fiat 500's are expected to be built in Mexico, roughly translating to (based on a five day work week and not taking any ramp up, etc into account)) an average of 417 cars per day. Tychy, Poland production is roughly around 600 Fiat 500 per day based on the last figures I had handy.
 

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I don't think this is a change from what was published previously, is it? I always understood production starts in December so depending on how long it takes to transport the cars here we should see one early January (I would think). Does anyone know what a typical delivery time is for a car built in Mexico? (From Europe the rule was always 3 months from order acceptance to delivery - at least for here in the Midwest.)
Oh, so that's how it's going to be, eh? I have to hope that they "accept" my promise to give them money. I think we need a separate forum for computing the best time to buy, for those of us who aren't rich. I remember when mini cooper first came out, they were talking 16k, and then the price jumped 2 or 3 thousand overnight. But for the 500 I think there's going to be an initial price spike, followed by a valley...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
don't hold me to this, but I believe I read somewhere that Fiat said the dealers will be held to selling them at 'sticker'. if there is sufficient inventory on hand at the dealers, then prices should hold, BUT if there is little to no inventory at the dealerships, then opportunists will be buying up what they can and reselling them MUCH higher than 'sticker'. this is what happened to smart. their smart centers had NO inventory on hand and all cars had to be pr-ordered with a wait time of well over a year.

so once the cars starting arriving, the owners put them up for sale on eBay, autotrader.com, etc. and made HUGE profits from those who didn't want to wait the 12-18 months. with Fiat hoping to have actual inventory available, I don't forsee this happening to the extent of smart.

I've been waiting well over a year to see one of these little guys in person, what's a couple more months???? January is just around the corner!! :D
 

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I was very encouraged by Laura Soave's (Head of Fiat Brand North America) comments recently regarding the Fiat 500 Prima Edizione. Specifically this part: "As we begin to introduce Fiat to North America, our goal is to develop a solid relationship with our customers so they are made to feel as part of the brand."

You can't do that by charging dealer markups or required options or any other dealer excuse to charge over MSRP. Best insurance a this point is to befriend your local dealer ASAP as well as the two closest dealers. This will give you options come purchase order time.

It is also important to use your connections around your community. I was interviewed by several local news agencies in conjunction with my Smart Fortwo order (with my dealer's thanks) as I was one of the first to take delivery. Once you do something like that the dealer will treat you like gold!
 

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Here is the info I've gathered through my own research over the course of 2 years doing this. It's not written in stone or guaranteed and all dates are subject to change. Delays are always possible in manufacturing and shipping due to many reasons.

Having said all that, at this time, here is a rough idea of what's to be expected in the next few months:

The anticipation is once production starts, cars will be begin to trickle into dealers. So, without splitting hairs, the time frame is pretty much what we've expected.

The Feb 28th date is, from what I gather, the latest the dealers are suppose to be up and running.

People with Prima' reservations are expected to sign contracts before the end of the year.

The launch date is during the LA Auto Show, Nov 18-28.

This month, we're expected to hear who's been picked for a Fiat franchise.

Hope this helps...
 

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Go ask Alice

Here is the info I've gathered through my own research over the course of 2 years doing this. It's not written in stone or guaranteed and all dates are subject to change. Delays are always possible in manufacturing and shipping due to many reasons.

Having said all that, at this time, here is a rough idea of what's to be expected in the next few months:

The anticipation is once production starts, cars will be begin to trickle into dealers. So, without splitting hairs, the time frame is pretty much what we've expected.

The Feb 28th date is, from what I gather, the latest the dealers are suppose to be up and running.

People with Prima' reservations are expected to sign contracts before the end of the year.

The launch date is during the LA Auto Show, Nov 18-28.

This month, we're expected to hear who's been picked for a Fiat franchise.

Hope this helps...
I've read your blog, and your logic is well-reasoned about possible pricing. But there is a weirdness about this whole rollout. Examples:

1) I'm in the Washington, D.C. area, where people have way more money than they know what to do with. No advertising yet here.

2) I look at a site like About.com:Cars. They are talking about the exciting new Kia models coming out. No mention of the 500.

3) What kind of bonehead idea is this all-new separate facilities for the Fiat 500? This tells me they are going for style over substance.

4) And the list goes on. Chrysler, Fiat, whoever you are, get your supply chains in order and start shipping automobiles!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've read your blog, and your logic is well-reasoned about possible pricing. But there is a weirdness about this whole rollout. Examples:

1) I'm in the Washington, D.C. area, where people have way more money than they know what to do with. No advertising yet here.

2) I look at a site like About.com:Cars. They are talking about the exciting new Kia models coming out. No mention of the 500.

3) What kind of bonehead idea is this all-new separate facilities for the Fiat 500? This tells me they are going for style over substance.

4) And the list goes on. Chrysler, Fiat, whoever you are, get your supply chains in order and start shipping automobiles!

as a Chrysler dealership employee, a dealership that is very confident they will recieve a Fiat franchise, pls let me address these issues:

1) so far, no advertising has been done ANYWHERE in the U.S. not sure what good it would do, as the dealers haven't even been selected. I would imagine sometime in late November or early December you will see the start of an advertising campaign.

2 & 3) the Fiat of course is an italian car with an italian image. they want to keep that ambiance for the customer. you just can't throw a new car that no one knows anything about into a showroom full of Chryslers, Dodges and Jeeps and expect people to flock to them. Fiats made some concessions, for the good of everyone concerned, and I can certainly see where a separate showroom for the 500 makes sense. remember, in another couple years (or less), Fiat wants to bring Alfa back to the states as well. the separate showroom is only a precurser to having Fiat and Alfa together, at which time a complete dealership will have to be up and running to not only sell the products but service them as well. dedicated, trained staff is the way Fiat wants to go and I can appreciate that decision.

4) it takes time to retool and entire plant to start production for an entirely new vehicle. also please keep in mind that the plant in Toluca Mexico is producing vehicles for not only North America (U.S. and Canada) but for Central America. while the cars 'may' be running off the assembly lines as I type, they are being held until such time as they have several to deliver to the dealers. the official opening isn't until either the end of February or first of March....several months away. the Prima Ediziones that have been reserved will be delivered, from what I understand, sometime in January.

patience....the 500 IS coming!! :D
 

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as a Chrysler dealership employee, a dealership that is very confident they will recieve a Fiat franchise, pls let me address these issues:

1) so far, no advertising has been done ANYWHERE in the U.S. not sure what good it would do, as the dealers haven't even been selected. I would imagine sometime in late November or early December you will see the start of an advertising campaign.

2 & 3) the Fiat of course is an italian car with an italian image. they want to keep that ambiance for the customer. you just can't throw a new car that no one knows anything about into a showroom full of Chryslers, Dodges and Jeeps and expect people to flock to them. Fiats made some concessions, for the good of everyone concerned, and I can certainly see where a separate showroom for the 500 makes sense. remember, in another couple years (or less), Fiat wants to bring Alfa back to the states as well. the separate showroom is only a precurser to having Fiat and Alfa together, at which time a complete dealership will have to be up and running to not only sell the products but service them as well. dedicated, trained staff is the way Fiat wants to go and I can appreciate that decision.

4) it takes time to retool and entire plant to start production for an entirely new vehicle. also please keep in mind that the plant in Toluca Mexico is producing vehicles for not only North America (U.S. and Canada) but for Central America. while the cars 'may' be running off the assembly lines as I type, they are being held until such time as they have several to deliver to the dealers. the official opening isn't until either the end of February or first of March....several months away. the Prima Ediziones that have been reserved will be delivered, from what I understand, sometime in January.

patience....the 500 IS coming!! :D

Well put navy48. I agree with you totally. And you can't advertise the European car when the US version is going to be different.

Like you said, we'll all have to have "... patience....the 500 IS coming!! :D"
 

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January for Prima owners is great news...hope it's true :)

that said, if so, dang we (prima deposit holders) need some more info fast.

Dealers to choose from. Hopefully that will be set this month.
Price. Fairly important for us not rich people.
Options. (is sunroof going to be the only option? how about climate control? stripes? logos? etc etc)

I ordered the Grey with sunroof...but I might change to White with sunroof if I can get a nice stripe down the side like the Abarth models have...that is a nice looking car (though I guess the grey could have a nice blue stripe that looks as cool....)

Basically those 500 prima people need some info soonish (yes i know we have to be patient, but some people have to make plans and such...and to know what options, if any, are available on this model).

for me it is kinda important as I will either be getting a LEAF in January or getting the Fiat 500 prima in Januaryish....so more info is very big for me...

I wish I could get both, but finances and space are an issue :)

Gavin
 

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I know of a perfect spot for one here in the San Fernando Valley CA, it was where the Smart dealer was (Universal city), right across from the Mini dealership. If I could only get the $$$.

The Chrysler dealers here will blow it, all of them were on the hit list to be closed and two hung on and they are still not the best. The Carmax by the Airport that got most of the excess inventory from closed dealers is still doing better than the Chrysler dealers around here.

The last time I was in a Chrysler dealer for repairs, they charged me for 3 "Diagnostic procedures" on a warranty repair at $150 each.

Gavin, I'm in the same boat, the wife saw a convertible and if this too much she will make me swap my spot in line for a stripped down convertible with a automatic. It looks like you have a lot of company in here with you too.
 

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January for Prima owners is great news...hope it's true :)

that said, if so, dang we (prima deposit holders) need some more info fast.

Dealers to choose from. Hopefully that will be set this month.
Price. Fairly important for us not rich people.
Options. (is sunroof going to be the only option? how about climate control? stripes? logos? etc etc)

I ordered the Grey with sunroof...but I might change to White with sunroof if I can get a nice stripe down the side like the Abarth models have...that is a nice looking car (though I guess the grey could have a nice blue stripe that looks as cool....)

Basically those 500 prima people need some info soonish (yes i know we have to be patient, but some people have to make plans and such...and to know what options, if any, are available on this model).

for me it is kinda important as I will either be getting a LEAF in January or getting the Fiat 500 prima in Januaryish....so more info is very big for me...

I wish I could get both, but finances and space are an issue :)

Gavin
Hi Gavin, welcome to the forum!
 

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Hi Chris....I was wondering why the other site didn't have forums...I like forums :)

But I see that you are here and so now I have three fiat 500 sites to check multiple times a day...sigh...I need to get a life :)

Gavin
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
http://fiat500usa.blogspot.com/


Hey navy48, your dealership is going to get the Fiat brand right?
And free shipping perhaps? ;)
sure, why not? :p

seriously, the dealerships have not been announced yet by Fiat. sometime later this month we SHOULD be notified.

we DO know they are looking for very well established, very secure dealers for their franchises. we fit the bill. there are 6 Mopar dealers in the area and probably 3 of them are questionable. so we feel really good about getting one, if not both of the locations. :D

as soon as I know something, it will get posted here! :)
 

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Methinks Navy48 is being a bit coy with us. Anyway, I spotted one in Maryland doing a lot of new construction. Either that Chrysler dealer is a gambler, or perhaps it's a coincidence, and he's excited about the hot new Chrysler lineup. I am playing this close to the vest, like Navy48, until I get my 500 reserved.
 
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