Breaking News
FCA posts Q3 net income of 606 million euros ($659 million)

NADA chairman to sell Italian cars the way he sells Italian motorcycles: with style

Arlena Sawyers covers remarketing for Automotive News
Chrysler Group has been pretty closed-mouthed about which dealers will sell its small Fiat cars.

But Ed Tonkin, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, isn’t.

The vice president of the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships in Portland, Ore., confirmed this week that his dealership group has been awarded a franchise to sell the small Italian cars. He also said the group will take marketing and sales cues for its Fiat store from its MotoCorsa dealership, which specializes in Italian Ducati motorcycles.

Although the group is located in a rainy climate, Tonkin said it enjoys great success with Ducati sport bikes because it has created a tight-knit culture for the brand, its dealership and its customers.

MotoCorsa has a showroom boutique that offers new and used motorcycles, a theater, accessories, apparel and a cafe. Its Facebook site has the look of a motorcycle enthusiast magazine that is targeted to a narrow but in-the-know audience.

“Portland is a very wet climate; nine months out of the year it rains. Not a good place to sell motorcycles -- but we are the No. 1 Ducati dealer in the United States,” Tonkin told reporters after a presentation at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit Thursday.

“We’ve created a culture, a mystic, a club, it’s very unique. The Fiat dealership will operate with same premise. This car is all about style, it’s about image. Hey, it’s Italian; they make cool stuff.”

Tonkin said he expects to sell about 300 Fiats a year.