Alfa Romeo will name 120 new dealers in Europe by the end of 2005 - part of a network restructuring that began in early 2002.
"We do not believe in the trend toward shrinking your dealer network to have few, bigger dealers," said Roberto Zuccato, head of sales for Fiat Auto's Alfa Romeo business unit.
He said Alfa Romeo needs more coverage, especially outside of Italy.
"That means adding new dealers and new satellite outlets," Zuccato said.
When Alfa became an independent business unit in January 2002 it had 985 dealer contracts. The total had grown to 995 by the end of April 2003 and is planned to reach 1,025 by the end of 2005.
In the same period, dealer contracts in Italy are projected to decrease from 185 to 160, while outside Italy they will rise from 800 to 865.
"In total, including natural attrition of dealers, I would expect over 120 entrepreneurs to join Alfa from now through 2005," Zuccato said.
To attract entrepreneurs outside Italy, Alfa has created three categories of dealers:
"To deliver the promise of making a new dealer profitable, we addressed the fixed cost base very aggressively," said Zuccato. "We are not pretending that Alfa should be the only brand represented by a single entrepreneur, but we ask for a level of exclusivity they can self-sustain."