Fiat reaches agreement with its German dealers

Frankfurt. Fiat Germany CEO Stephan Winkelmann believes that the "ice age" is over between Fiat Germany's management board and the Fiat-Lancia dealer association.

Winkelmann said Fiat has reached an agreement with its Lancia dealers in Germany regarding demonstration and showroom cars.

The two sides also agreed on the introduction of a two-tier Lancia dealer network.

"In the future we will have Lancia A- and B-dealers again," Winkelmann said.

He also announced a new sales program to push sales of the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands.

Special Fiat Punto, Doblo, Stilo and Ulysse models and special versions of the Alfa 147, 156 and Spider will carry discounts of up to 3,000 euros.

New financing schemes -- offered until the end of August -- under which the first monthly payment is due after 12 months -- should also lure buyers into the showrooms.

Winkelmann also told Automobilwoche that he plans more integration of dealers. The German Alfa Romeo dealers, for example, will have to renovate showrooms to meet the new corporate identity within a few months.

Winkelmann believes that the "manageable" investments for new floor coverings, furniture and new lighting systems will give showrooms a certain "boutique character."

He will announce details of his new sales strategy at the dealer association's delegate conference May 27.

Dealer association spokesman Friedrich Karl Bonten hopes that Winkelmann also will tell the dealers how he plans to improve the spare-parts supply.

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