Fiat's return to North America wasn't as triumphant as it had expected, but after a few personnel changes, marketing tweaks and the Abarth model, sales of the Fiat 500 are picking up quickly. On top of the regular 500, new versions of the car are being planned as well as an all-new compact crossover for the brand, and to accommodate the added sales volume, Automotive News reports that Fiat is going to be expanding its dealer network in the near future.
Fiat currently has 170 dealerships in the United States, but the report says that the brand is looking to increase that number to an even 200. In addition to expanding into current Chrysler dealerships the way all Fiat stores are now, Fiat could also pair up with non-Chrysler dealers to grow the network into new markets.
"We still have some areas where we don't have representation today, key markets for us like downtown Chicago and downtown San Francisco," said Tim Kuniskis, Fiat brand chief for North America. "We're looking to expand, but in the right strategic markets."
One of the reasons for the dealer expansion is the steady sales increase of the 2012 FIAT 500. So far in 2012, the Fiat 500 has sold 20,706 units - including a strong June sales of 4,004 units - which has the funky little hatchback up 319 percent over 2011; the souped-up 500 Abarth has already sold out for 2012. In addition to the current 500 line-up, Fiat is also planning an all-electric version of the car as well as a larger, four-door model called the 500L.
At a recent press conference for the aforementioned 500L, Fiat also showed off a new compact crossover called the 500X that will bring the 500's iconic styling up to the B-segment. Automotive News says that the Fiat 500X will be more than two feet longer than the current 500, and it will ride on a modified version of the platform used on the Fiat Punto (shown here). The report goes on to say this model will be built in Turin, Italy (the current Fiat 500 is produced in Toluca, Mexico), and the platform will also be used to underpin a new Jeep B-segment SUV that will be smaller than the current Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass.