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Fiat opening dealership in Costa Mesa on Tuesday

March 11, 2011

A Fiat dealership, something not seen in Orange County in decades, will open Tuesday on Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. Italian carmaker Fiat bought a stake in Chrysler in 2009, and chose to locate one of about 150 new dealerships nationwide through the Talon Automotive Group.

Talon Automotive includes the Orange Coast Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealership on Harbor Boulevard.

Chief Executive Jon Gray said Orange Coast Fiat would be "very cool, low-key, fun and incredibly interactive."

In the facility at 2524 Harbor Blvd., shoppers will be able to use touch-screen displays to customize options on the Fiat 500, a subcompact that starts around $15,500 and gets about 40 miles per gallon. Fiat — once notorious in the U.S. for poor quality — has experienced a renewed reputation since pulling out of the American market in 1983, according to a 2009 Time magazine article.

—Alexandra Baird

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