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Fiat greeted with enthusiasm on Brand Boulevard

The dealership has an inventory of about 140 cars. Six were sold last weekend, says the manager.

April 17, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • The Fiat dealership is under construction, but is open to the public in Glendale.
The Fiat dealership is under construction, but is open… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

Fiat's recent move onto the Brand Boulevard of Cars has proven to be popular with potential new-car buyers and with enthusiasts of the storied Italian brand, according to representatives for the dealership — and the building's new exterior isn't even complete.

The interior of the 8,400-square-foot dealership was completed about five weeks ago, said Joe Paine, general manager of Glendale Dodge Chrysler Jeep, which owns the Fiat franchise.

Fiat enthusiasts began showing up immediately, he added.

“We sold six cars last weekend,” Paine said.

Located in the former Al & Ed's Autosound store at 600 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale Fiat has an inventory of about 140 cars, Paine said.

“I know the construction looks very rough,” Paine said, adding that work on the outside of the building should be complete in two to three weeks.

Fiat recently reentered the U.S. market after being absent from the U.S. since 1983.

Though the Italian carmaker offers a full model line in Europe, it is putting its sales emphasis here on its compact 500 coupe, the first model on offer here in the U.S.

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The 500 is available in five versions: the standard Pop coupe, a two-door convertible, Gucci and Pink Ribbon limited editions, and the sporty Abarth, which features a turbocharged 160-horsepower engine and uprated suspension and brakes.

A base Fiat 500 Pop, which is rated at 30/38 highway mpg, starts at around $15,500, according to the company's website, while the Abarth starts at about $22,000.

Paine said he's excited about the chance to introduce Fiat cars, which have sold well overseas, to local consumers.

“It's a great product, owned by a great company, and we see nothing but success with the franchise,” Paine said.

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