In May 2014, Fiat Chrysler held its first ever ‘Future Dealer Development Program’, a 15-18 month course aimed at teaching existing Fiat Chrysler dealers how to properly operate their retail stores. The automaker is now welcoming its fourth wave of students to the program, Automotive News reports, with 75 students heading to Auburn Hills, Mich. ready to learn.
AN says the majority of the dealer development students are children of existing dealers or top managers who wish to become a dealer. The program, developed with the guidance of the National Automobile Dealers Association, hopes to implement more stability and continuity throughout Fiat Chrysler’s dealer network.
“Talking to dealers from a succession standpoint, you could tell there was a need to prepare people either in their family or key people in their organization,” John Fox, FCA’s director of dealer training told AN.
The program costs $11,750 and requires the students to meet one week per quarter. Classes brief students on general dealer operations, human resources, contract and labor laws, marketing tactics and e-commerce, among other subjects, and are often taught by outside experts with experience related to the topic at hand.