Special Coverage

Chrysler's Next Chapter

AUBURN HILLS, MI – The Fiat 500 will be sold exclusively in metro markets by select dealers, says Peter Grady, Chrysler Group LLC vice president-network and fleet.

The highly anticipated B-car is engineered by Chrysler partner Fiat Automobiles SpA and expected to be assembled at Chrysler’s plant in Toluca, Mexico.

Chosen dealerships will feature salons dedicated to Fiat and staffed by specially trained personnel assigned exclusively to the task of selling the 500.

The auto maker’s expectation is that the stylish minicar will attract customers who might not have otherwise set foot in a Chrysler store, Grady tells journalists and analysts here as the auto maker outlines its 5-year plan.

Expectation is a key word in Grady’s presentation, noting 80% of Chrysler’s 2,366 dealers sell all four brands – Jeep, Dodge and the core marque – in accordance with the consolidation initiative dubbed Project Genesis.The auto maker expects 100% compliance by 2011.

Meanwhile, Grady says Chrysler will roll out a new set of rules for its dealers Dec. 1.

“We want to be clear,” he says, adding Chrysler wants it dealers to “exceed customer expectations, resolve concerns and engender customer loyalty.”

Grady says the new rules are designed to help Chrysler dealers achieve these goals and “repeat their success day after day.”

He also says Chrysler has set an average per-month throughput target of 750 vehicles per dealer, more than double the current average of 340.

emayne@wardsauto.com