Update from So. Calif.

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Update from So. Calif.

AgentP
Hi, I've been mostly lurking on the forums as of late.  I thought I should post an update if it is of any use to anyone who is thinking of buying here in the Southern California area.  I have visited 3 dealerships as of late.  

About 2 weeks ago, I drove out to the new Thousand Oaks Fiat "Studio" - I put that in quotes because the shack they had devoted to "the studio" was very sad indeed.  For those of you familiar, it looked like an old Taco Bell building - seriously. It was a spanish-style fast-food type of building but with big floor to ceiling windows.  Also it was very small (they would be lucky to fit one car in there) and at the back/side of the existing beautiful Chrysler showroom.  Perhaps it is all they could put together at short notice, but they really need to rectify this because it makes a terrible impression.   The building looks like it may have been a Chrysler service office.   On the bright side, at least they are up and running.  They had 2 PE rejects (one white, one red) and nothing else.  At the time, their one and only salesman, Mike Piper, was busy with other customers and a Chrysler salesman assisted us with the test drive.  As I mentioned in another thread, I'd already test drove the Fiat at Motor Village, weeks ago. This trip was to have my husband finally see a FIAT in person (instead of on Youtube), sit in one and test drive it.  I am happy to report that he had enough headroom.  He is 6'0"  and I was careful not to mention a word about the headroom controversy since I have my heart set on one with a sunroof.  At no time did he say, "hey, this is tight, I don't have enough headroom."  About 2 days ago, I got a voicemail from this dealership that they have received about 50 FIATS in various colors and styles. However their stock doesn't seem to be listed anywhere on the internet, so if you want to see the cars, you'll have to make a trip out there.

Today we went to the Costa Mesa dealership in South Orange County.  They have a very nice studio like at MVLA and quite a selection.  I was hoping to see one of the "7" reported "green" colored Fiats they had advertised at Cars.com, but they actually only had one olive green car there and the helpful Fiat specialist told me the 2 light green Lounges they'd had, sold immediately.  I was informed that they'd been open since March and had sold about 40 cars thus far.  He says some customers came from as far as Riverside to buy.  He says they will soon have a "grand opening celebration." I asked them about advertising - he says they are starting to have radio ads on K-EARTH (the demographics for that station must be 50+ babyboomers) and some newspaper ads.  He said they are holding back on the big-ticket advertising (presumably TV commercials?) until after the other studios get up and running.

Since I had my heart set on seeing the car in Verde (light green), on our way back home we dropped by MVLA (they reported on Cars.com they'd received one in light green).  I met a new FIAT salesman  named Tony (very nice and knowledgable) and saw the car in Verde (heaven!!!).  Tony says they've probably sold about 40 cars since opening.

OK so between MVLA and the CM dealer, they've sold roughly 80 cars, I'm wondering why I've yet to see a single one on the road.  Also, how can they expect to sell any cars without any real advertising?  If the car fails to sell, I'd have to say it was because no one even knows it exists. The only other sure way to get the word out, is to see other people driving them around and I've yet to see any on the road.

So now that I've seen the car in light green, I've finally decided that I'll order the car in light green, Sport version, manual transmission, sunroof (and the necessary spare tire), and possibly the alarm package.   For me it will be a matter then of ordering it custom.  I'm figuring by later this summer, when I'm ready to pull the trigger, things should go more smoothly (than it has for you PE owners).  Tony at MVLA says if I don't like the car when it arrives, they will give me back the $500 deposit, which is more than fair IMO.  

Also, how are you folks who live 200, 300 or 500 miles from a FIAT dealership ever going to be able to take the car in for service or repair when it is needed?
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Re: Update from So. Calif.

ciddyguy
AgentP wrote
Hi, I've been mostly lurking on the forums as of late.  I thought I should post an update if it is of any use to anyone who is thinking of buying here in the Southern California area.  I have visited 3 dealerships as of late.  

About 2 weeks ago, I drove out to the new Thousand Oaks Fiat "Studio" - I put that in quotes because the shack they had devoted to "the studio" was very sad indeed.  For those of you familiar, it looked like an old Taco Bell building - seriously. It was a spanish-style fast-food type of building but with big floor to ceiling windows.  Also it was very small (they would be lucky to fit one car in there) and at the back/side of the existing beautiful Chrysler showroom.  Perhaps it is all they could put together at short notice, but they really need to rectify this because it makes a terrible impression.   The building looks like it may have been a Chrysler service office.   On the bright side, at least they are up and running.  They had 2 PE rejects (one white, one red) and nothing else.  At the time, their one and only salesman, Mike Piper, was busy with other customers and a Chrysler salesman assisted us with the test drive.  As I mentioned in another thread, I'd already test drove the Fiat at Motor Village, weeks ago. This trip was to have my husband finally see a FIAT in person (instead of on Youtube), sit in one and test drive it.  I am happy to report that he had enough headroom.  He is 6'0"  and I was careful not to mention a word about the headroom controversy since I have my heart set on one with a sunroof.  At no time did he say, "hey, this is tight, I don't have enough headroom."  About 2 days ago, I got a voicemail from this dealership that they have received about 50 FIATS in various colors and styles. However their stock doesn't seem to be listed anywhere on the internet, so if you want to see the cars, you'll have to make a trip out there.

Today we went to the Costa Mesa dealership in South Orange County.  They have a very nice studio like at MVLA and quite a selection.  I was hoping to see one of the "7" reported "green" colored Fiats they had advertised at Cars.com, but they actually only had one olive green car there and the helpful Fiat specialist told me the 2 light green Lounges they'd had, sold immediately.  I was informed that they'd been open since March and had sold about 40 cars thus far.  He says some customers came from as far as Riverside to buy.  He says they will soon have a "grand opening celebration." I asked them about advertising - he says they are starting to have radio ads on K-EARTH (the demographics for that station must be 50+ babyboomers) and some newspaper ads.  He said they are holding back on the big-ticket advertising (presumably TV commercials?) until after the other studios get up and running.

Since I had my heart set on seeing the car in Verde (light green), on our way back home we dropped by MVLA (they reported on Cars.com they'd received one in light green).  I met a new FIAT salesman  named Tony (very nice and knowledgable) and saw the car in Verde (heaven!!!).  Tony says they've probably sold about 40 cars since opening.

OK so between MVLA and the CM dealer, they've sold roughly 80 cars, I'm wondering why I've yet to see a single one on the road.  Also, how can they expect to sell any cars without any real advertising?  If the car fails to sell, I'd have to say it was because no one even knows it exists. The only other sure way to get the word out, is to see other people driving them around and I've yet to see any on the road.

So now that I've seen the car in light green, I've finally decided that I'll order the car in light green, Sport version, manual transmission, sunroof (and the necessary spare tire), and possibly the alarm package.   For me it will be a matter then of ordering it custom.  I'm figuring by later this summer, when I'm ready to pull the trigger, things should go more smoothly (than it has for you PE owners).  Tony at MVLA says if I don't like the car when it arrives, they will give me back the $500 deposit, which is more than fair IMO.  

Also, how are you folks who live 200, 300 or 500 miles from a FIAT dealership ever going to be able to take the car in for service or repair when it is needed?
To answer some of your questions regarding advertising and such, remember, this car is JUST coming out and with only 30 dealers open as last reported (and many of them just opening as of this month due to the longer wait for the business license), they may be holding off a tad, but word is they might begin advertising as of this month, I've yet to hear an ad, but I don't listen to the radio much, nor watch TV so have missed any ads that may be airing up here in Seattle.

I know the local dealer here is selling them, but I've yet to see on on the road, but AM now beginning to see the Ford Fiesta more and more and it's been out since last spring/summer.

I plan on buying one myself, and it's more a matter of finding a way to finance the thing that anything else, otherwise, I'd have ordered one by now and will get the sport w/ sunroof, alarm and spare too, but in the Russo most likely.

We are supposed have another dealer open soon in Tacoma, about an hours drive away as Fiat of Kirkland just north of Seattle is open and has been for several weeks now and is where I test drove the Fiat initially and they don't have their studio ready yet so are working out of the main Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealership on the premises.

Like anything else that is getting established from the ground up, it may take time for things to get up and running - especially with things still in the dumps as far as the economy is concerned.
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Re: Update from So. Calif.

Gavin
In reply to this post by AgentP
How can they sell cars without advertizing? Well I think you partially answered that question yourself :)  

Heck you've gone to three different dealerships without any advertizing :)


Seriously though, yes they will need to advertize to sell lots and lots of 500s...but in the short run, well they seem to sell what they can get so far...that should change as more cars will be made the the initial run by fans will decrease...so I do hope to see some ads very soon...

perhaps they were waiting for the C version as summer is approaching...having both a hardtop and ragtop in ads will increase interest.

Gavin
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Re: Update from So. Calif.

AgentP
Gavin, Congrats on getting your car - yours was a harrowing story what with watching it sit in some rail yard in NM for so long!
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Re: Update from So. Calif.

Fiat500USA
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In reply to this post by Gavin
Gavin wrote
How can they sell cars without advertising? Well I think you partially answered that question yourself :)  

Heck you've gone to three different dealerships without any advertising :)


Seriously though, yes they will need to advertise to sell lots and lots of 500s...but in the short run, well they seem to sell what they can get so far...that should change as more cars will be made the the initial run by fans will decrease...so I do hope to see some ads very soon...

perhaps they were waiting for the C version as summer is approaching...having both a hardtop and ragtop in ads will increase interest.

Gavin

Talked to someone from Fiat the other day, here's the latest on the advertising:  waiting for a critical mass of dealers to be up before the $,$$$,$$$ start flowing.  Next month should be the jump off date.  The preliminary plans were flexible, to accommodate  delays (hence the April 30 date).  

They can't commit huge $$$$ until dealers are up. But it will happen.  Until then, we'll just have to enjoy being a really exclusive club!
Prima Edizione  29
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Re: Update from So. Calif.

hgolightly
In reply to this post by AgentP
I just bought my verde chiaro Fiat 500 at Power Fiat of SouthBay in Hawthorne and they have tons of verde chiaros (light green). Their inventory is quit impressive.

I see at least 1 Fiat a day, but then again I work in Beverly hills and live in West LA.

When I went back to Louisville, KY to see family in the fall I even saw one there in the hwy from the airport!! I was shocked at that one I have to admit.

I love my little car! It is such a boutique car though so your not going to see that many around. I think I spot them easily because I am drawn to them.
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