Last week Fiat Chrysler flew 200 of its Fiat dealers out to Detroit in order to lie out a revised strategy that will allow them to close standalone Fiat showrooms and work them into Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Chrysler showrooms. The plan gives dealers more freedom to do what they please with their business, which has resulted in positive feelings toward it among dealers.
Speaking to Automotive News following the meeting, dealers noted several positives about the strategy and also laid praise upon Fiat Chrysler’s passenger car brand boss Tim Kuniskis. The plan, which will spring into action this April, is expected to save Fiat dealers money and help create more attractive offers on the Fiat 500, 500X and 500L.
Closing their separate Fiat showrooms will allow Fiat dealers to bring their entire store under one dealer code. This means the Fiat and the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram storefronts can share services like the dealership management system, which AN says can cost up to $7,500 a month. Fiat vehicles will also now count towards monthly volume sales goals and incentives.
Most dealers are fans of the strategy because it gives them a choice on whether or not to close their Fiat store. Some dealers might want to keep the Fiat store around in order to differentiate the brand from Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Chrysler products, while others who are losing money on Fiat might shut the storefront down as soon as possible.
“I think everybody has a fighting chance now to at least make it viable,” said Gary Brown, owner of Fiat dealer in New York told AN. “Everybody has to analyze their own individual plan, but it’s nice that we were given tools to make it viable for every individual dealer.”
“There are probably very few individuals who can walk out (of the meeting) and say, “I know exactly what I’m going to do,’ There are so many variables,” another Fiat dealer, Mike Bettenhausen, told AN. Every state has different franchise laws. I’ve got to go back and consult with my attorney and my CPA. But I know one thing — Tim Kuniskis will get this right.”