The folks who make their living doing dealership buy-sells agree: There is zero outside interest in buying U.S. Fiat stores.
But among Fiat Chrysler dealers whose showrooms are about to lose their lowest-priced Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler vehicles, Fiat's small stable of low-priced but slow-selling cars is getting a second look.
"If you can put a two-door Fiat 500 in your ad with an MSRP of $16,000 -- especially if you don't have a Dart or a 200 anymore -- that's attractive to a dealer," said Gary Brown, a former chairman of FCA's national dealer council who owns a Fiat dealership and a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealership on New York's Long Island. "That will keep people coming in the door."
In several locations around the U.S., Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealers are adding Fiat franchises, thanks in large part to a brand reset announced this year by Tim Kuniskis, FCA's head of passenger cars. The reset allows dealers to close their separate Fiat showrooms and combine operations with their Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram stores and thus dramatically reduce third-party vendor costs.