TURIN -- One of Italy's largest Renault dealers will start selling Fiat cars in September.
The move by the Renault Fiori dealership in Rome highlights a trend toward multibrand dealerships in Europe.
The Rome dealer sells 4,000 Renaults annually. Owner Fabio Fiori said he aims to sell 1,500 to 2,000 Fiat cars a year in addition to the Renault models.
Fiori will divide his 1,000-square-meter showroom on Rome's Via della Maglianella into equal-sized areas for Renault and Fiat.
Fiori is taking advantage of the European Union's new rules for new-car sales. One of the changes is that dealers are allowed to sell brands from different manufacturers under the same roof.
Fiori believes selling multiple brands is effective if a dealer adds brands that target customers with similar demands.
"I signed in with Fiat to get additional business, not to replace Renault sales with Fiat sales," Fiori said in a telephone interview.
Luca De Meo, Fiat's brand director, expects more dealers to invest in selling Fiat cars alongside their existing brands due to the success of recent launches.
He cited the hot-selling Panda minicar and Grande Punto small car and forthcoming offerings such as the lower-medium Bravo, which is due next spring, and the 500 minicar, which debuts in September 2007.
You may e-mail Luca Ciferri at [email protected]