Steve Moses, holding the door of the first Fiat his dealership received, will have dozens of the Italian vehicles for sale later this month.
The steering wheel and dashboard inside the new Fiat 500 at Moses Ford in St. Albans on Tuesday.
The motor inside the Fiat 500.
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- By the end of the year, Fiat will begin selling its cars in two West Virginia locations, one in Morgantown and the other at Moses Ford Lincoln BMW outlet in St. Albans.
"We think Fiat represents an exciting new direction for the automobile industry," Steve Moses, president of the St. Albans dealership, said Tuesday. "It's an Italian, fun and sporty car to drive. It's very fuel-efficient and reliable. It will appeal to young people and people of all ages who have a young outlook.
"We were approved by Chrysler to be one of two Fiat stores in West Virginia," Moses said. The Italian automaker owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, and announced plans this week to buy the rest of the company.
"The other dealership is Urse Fiat, in Morgantown, because Fiat was also interested in doing business in a college town," Moses said.
He said his dealership has 30 Fiat 500s on the way, and they'll go on sale on Dec. 26.
The cheapest Fiats, which are rated to get 40 miles per gallon on the road and 31 mpg in the city, sell for $15,900, Moses said. More expensive models, such as Fiat convertibles, cost between $24,000 and $25,000.
The new Fiat sales division at Moses in St. Albans will create four new jobs immediately. Moses said that should eventually expand to 13 jobs.
"It will make us a more attractive destination," he said.
The majority of his Fiat customers will be young people, Moses predicts. But they will also include "middle-aged people who want a small car to commute to work in. This is a very stylish product, an exciting product."
After it opens its new Fiat Studio building in March, the Moses dealership will also begin selling several other models -- including the Fiat 500 Cabrio, Fiat 500 Turbo and Fiat 500 Abarth.
"Before this, Fiat had disappeared in America for years," Moses said. "They became very prevalent in South America. It is an international company."
The Fiat 500 has won more than 80 awards, including European Car of the Year in 2008, World Car Design of the Year in 2009 and Best New Engine in 2010. The Fiat is also a Consumer Guide Automotive "recommended pick."
Fiat also makes Ferraris, Maseratis, agricultural tractors and large commercial trucks.
"The Fiat has been picked as the top car in Europe in the past few years," Moses said.
Moses said Fiat plans to make Maserati luxury sports cars in a plant in Toledo, Ohio. "Fiat is also bringing the Alfa Romeo back to the United States," he said.
Anyone interested in purchasing a new Fiat can visit the dealership, at 2001 MacCorkle Ave., St. Albans, or call Mike Ramsey, general sales manager for Moses Ford, at 304-729-3061.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at email@example.com or 304-348-5164.