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Fiat dealership to open in St. Albans

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Moses Automotive Group is adding a Fiat dealership to its lineup in St. Albans, said Steve Moses, president of Moses Ford Lincoln BMW.

Sales of the Fiat 500 economy car will begin next week on the day after Christmas. The dealership expects to have 30 Fiat 500s in stock by Dec. 31, Moses said Tuesday at a press conference.

The dealership will start by selling four versions of the Fiat 500: The Fiat 500, the Cabrio, the Turbo and the Abarth. Prices range from $15,900 to $25,000, Moses said.

"It's an exciting product," Moses said. "It's small, inexpensive, and fuel-efficient. It's fun to drive. It's in the same class as the Mini (Cooper), which BMW has chosen not to introduce in this market. It has a price that's about $7,000 lower than the Mini. And the Italian styling is pretty hard to beat."

The basic model gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway and 31 miles per gallon in the city, he said. The car has a cage around the passenger compartment and has received high crash ratings for its class.

The Fiat currently sitting in Moses' BMW showroom has an engine made in the USA and a transmission made in Italy. It was assembled in Mexico. The car comes with a four-year, 50,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty, said Mike Ramsey, Moses' general sales manager.

Moses said he believes the Fiat 500 will attract young people, folks looking for a second or third family car, and commuters. "It has been picked the top car in Europe the last few years," he said.

Moses said he will have the Fiat 500 on display at the 2013 West Virginia International Auto Show, slated Jan. 25-27 at the Civic Center.

The only other Fiat dealership in West Virginia is Urse Fiat in Morgantown, which has already opened.

"I think Fiat was interested in being close to a college town," Moses said, alluding to West Virginia University.

The new dealership in St. Albans will start with four employees. Moses hopes the number will eventually grow to 15.

"The Fiat 500 will morph into many other versions in the coming years," he said.

The Fiat 500 L, a four-door version, will be introduced next year and a four-wheel-drive version based on Chrysler's Jeep platform is scheduled in 2014. An all-electric model is expected within two years.

The dealership will add another Italian brand, Alfa Romeo, to its lineup in 2014.

Fiat owns the Fiat and Alpha Romeo brands as well as Maserati and Ferrari. Fiat acquired a majority stake in Chrysler in 2009 after the U.S. auto industry went through a crisis. Fiat currently owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler and is in the process of acquiring the remaining 41.5 percent stake from a United Auto Workers union health care trust.

Moses Ford Lincoln BMW moved its used car sales center this past summer, leaving 1.1 acres available for redevelopment. The portion of the used car sales building that housed the service department has been saved. A new structure is being added.

Ground was broken Nov. 1 for the 7,000-square-foot Fiat dealership sales and service center, known as a "Fiat Studio." Footers have already been poured and the steel for the structure is on site.

Jarrett Construction Services Inc. of Charleston is general contractor. Moses said about 100 construction workers have been on site. March 1 is the targeted completion date.

Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.

 


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