SCHERERVILLE | Two years ago, the Napleton Automotive Group first tossed around the idea of bringing the Italian-based Fiat to the region with the growing interest in the brand in the U.S.
That idea has since come to fruition with Napleton adding a Fiat dealership to its property on the east side of U.S. 41, north of 67th Avenue in Schererville.
“Adding Fiat is something Napleton has been chasing a while,” said general manager Roland De La Rosa. “I think there’s a demand for the car. With the history of performance and history of quality Fiat has, we think we have a brand customers will be excited about.”
The Fiat dealership joins the Napleton array of car dealerships that already includes Mercedes, Nissan and Jaguar among others.
Unlike the typical car dealership, De La Rosa described the Fiat dealership as having a “studio environment feel.” Customers are able to come into the store knowing exactly what they want out of the car and are able to work with the dealer to find or customize their car to meet their expectations.
“It’s intended to be more of an experience when buying a car, rather than just typical car selling 101,” De La Rosa explained.
The Fiat brand’s demographics typically leads to the cars competing for customers with the Scion brand, but De La Rosa said Fiat dealership will give customers alternatives to cars like the Nissan Cube or Kia Soul.
The Napleton Fiat dealership currently carries two model lines on site with the Fiat 500C and Fiat 500L.
The Fiat 500C is a two-door coupe which can be priced anywhere between around $17,000 for the more basic model to near $27,000 for the more expensive Fiat 500 Abarth sports model.
The Fiat 500L series is a four-door car more typical for family use. One of the more popular Fiat 500L options is the Fiat 500L Pop which starts at about $19,000.
De La Rosa said most of the fully equipped cars will fall into the $25,000 price range, but he believes the flexibility in buying options will be attractive to buyers in a Chicagoland market, which hasn’t had many Fiat dealerships establish themselves, especially in Northwest Indiana.
“With Fiat’s history of performance, that’s a lot of car for $25,000,” he said.
The addition Fiat could serve as a bridge into a larger market of Italian cars which could have the addition of the Alpha Romeo brand and other Italian sports cars not trailing far behind, De La Rosa said.
But for now, Napleton will start with the addition of Fiat and see the response from consumers in Northwest Indiana. Based on the sales of nearby stores and growing interest in Fiat in the United States, the dealership is expecting a healthy response.
“The cars in the Chicagoland market and the brand with the studios that have opened have all done exceedingly well,” De La Rosa said. “We hope the addition of Fiat at Napleton will continue that trend.”