FCA adding as many as 400 U.S. dealerships, sources say

Dealers: Move is an attempt to win back share

Dealers say the added U.S. points are FCA's attempt to win additional market share. But in some locations, the new points are within just a few miles of existing stores, they say. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

Fiat Chrysler is in the midst of adding as many as 400 new U.S. dealerships even as its U.S. sales appear to have stalled, two dealers familiar with the plan and an FCA source said.

An FCA spokesman declined to comment. FCA has about 2,500 U.S. dealerships that sell Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles.

In some markets, such as Houston, the expansion is already underway, one of the sources said. There, three new Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealerships are in various stages of opening. Houston is the fifth-largest metro area in the United States, with nearly 6.5 million people. FCA already had 14 dealers in the area before the current expansion.

Dealers said the added points are FCA’s attempt to win additional U.S. market share. But in some locations, the new points are within just a few miles of existing stores, they said.

The expansion comes at a particularly difficult time for FCA dealers.

After years of record dealer profits and growing sales, FCA sales in the U.S. have fallen since September, even as the broader market has stayed relatively stable. FCA lost 1.5 percentage points of market share in the fourth quarter of 2016 in North America, compared with a year earlier, dropping to 11.3 percent, according to its quarterly financial report this week.

FCA admitted in July 2016 that it had misreported its monthly sales reports. The automaker restated its monthly sales totals going back to 2011.

“They probably did need to add more stores, but they’re about five years too late,” said one U.S. metro dealer, who did not want to be identified. “The market is really tough and getting tougher.”

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com -- Follow Larry P. on Twitter: @LarryVellequett

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.