Chrysler admits Fiat launch in U.S. is behind schedule?

Written By kentoznoism on 3/09/2011 | 6:10 AM

Fiat's plan to produce 200 dedicated Fiat-brand dealerships in a relatively short period of time always struck us as an overly ambitious plan. And with the Fiat 500  headed for full-scale Mexican production in the next couple weeks, we've been wondering how that plan has been progressing. Maybe not as quickly as the Italian automaker hoped.

A new report in Automotive News shows that only 20 dealerships will be opened as you read this, with another 10-20 retail outlets scheduled to cut ribbon by mid-March. Fiat head Laura Soave reportedly told AN that the dealer rollout is "a tiny bit behind," adding that 130 stores should be ready to rock by September. There was no mention in the report regarding Fiat's original target of 200 dealerships, or whether the automaker still plans to open that many outlets in the future.

Fiat's dealer situation isn't great yet, but there is good news for those who pre-ordered a 500. Soave says those first special edition orders should start getting filled in mid-March, with dealer inventory beginning to fill by the end of the month.

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