Italy’s flagship auto maker is now selling its pint-sized cars in Bay Ridge.
The first Fiat dealership in the city opened on July 3 on 94th Street and Fourth Avenue in the Ridge, and its owners say the sporty two-door hatchbacks their sporting will become as popular here as they are in Europe and Brazil.
“This car is here to stay,” said Giuseppe Cirnigliaro, the manager of Giuffre Fiat.
The Bay Ridge move is all part of Fiat’s plan to bring its European flavor to the American market, which has begun to shun big gas-guzzling SUVs for more practical sedans and hybrid models.
The 100-year-old car company, which helped save Chrysler when it bought into the beleagured American auto maker two years ago, is known for its tiny, gas sippers that are popular in other parts of the globe where gas prices have long been higher than they are here.
The 500 and 500c models — hatchbacks that rivals the Mini Cooper in size and are said to get 45 miles-per-gallon — are currently the only new Fiats available in the states, with a third, the souped-up 500 Abarth, on the way, according to Cirnigliaro.
The 500c base model starts at $15,500, and can top out at $23,500, thanks to amenities like Bose stereos and aluminum alloy rims.
Bay Ridge is home to more than a half dozen car dealerships.
The new business brings with it at least 10 jobs to the neighborhood, and replaces a Volkswagen and Mazda dealership.
In the 1970s, the building was home to Fisherman’s Quarters, a seafood restaurant that was famously transformed into a coffee shop for scenes in the classic disco-era coming-of-age film “Saturday Night Fever.”
Giuffre Fiat [9265 Fourth Ave. at 94th Street in Bay Ridge, (888) 420-9931]. For information, visit www.fiatus
©2011 Community News Group
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