Chrysler Dealers Presented with Corporate Plan for Marketing of FIAT 500 in the US
At last week's Chrysler Group meeting, about 400 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers who want to sell Fiats were told that the exotic minicar at first will be the only 2011 model in their Fiat showrooms.
Chrysler, which is now controlled by Italy's Fiat, hopes to sell 50,000 units the first year they arrive. Eventually, four versions will be offered -- a standard 500, a cloth-top convertible, a high performance Abarth version with up to 185 horsepower, and in 2012, an electric version.
Fiat-run Chrysler Group LLC has serious plans for the 500, not just as a niche player but to provide a strong small-car item for Chrysler in the US, where the automaker has struggled for years. The car will be sold by about 165 Chrysler Group dealers in 125 mainly big-city markets, starting in just a few months time and with some open before Christmas.
"There's no doubt about it. It's a home run," said Alan Helfman, vice president of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston. Pricing for the 500 wasn't announced, but it's expected to be around $15,000. Dealers were told to expect profits of $1,200 to $1,500.
Dealers have until Sept. 22 to apply for Fiat franchises. Chrysler said it will pick its dealers in the fourth quarter. The US-market version of the car will be built in Toluca, Mexico- European cars continue to be produced at Katowice, Poland.