Schaumburg's Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership on Golf Road has opened a temporary, prefabricated showroom in its parking lot to start selling Fiats as well.
The Zeigler dealership at 208 W. Golf Road was one of 300 in the country and only three in the Chicago area chosen to help reintroduce the Fiat brand to the U.S. market.
"For us, it's huge to be able to compete in this smaller car market," said sales manager Lou Lopez.
The original hope was to open a permanent facility for Fiat right from the start, but Lopez said his dealership expects it to take about 12 months to find and prepare a site.
While he and Schaumburg officials hope that also can be in Schaumburg, Lopez said there are many factors that have to be weighed in such a decision.
The Schaumburg village board Tuesday night granted a six-month permit for the 2,200-square-foot showroom, but the village's Economic Development Coordinator Matt Frank said officials are open to an extension if it should become necessary.
Car dealerships are a major source of sales tax revenue for the village. Frank said it's a big deal for the local economy to see a new one open at this time, and the village would like to continue to be a part of Fiat's rebirth.
"We've given them suggestions of sites," Frank said. "We feel that Schaumburg is the appropriate place for a new dealership."
Though the new showroom is temporary, it's meant to look classy, Lopez said. It will feature latte machines and a pressure-free environment for the public to come and see the new cars.
While a temporary facility wasn't Fiat's first choice, it was an option provided to its chosen dealerships. The prefabricated parts were delivered by truck and put together in a week, Lopez said.
According to testimony provided to the village's Zoning Board of Appeals, the structure has been designed to withstand 90 mph winds.