Chrysler Group LLC announced Wednesday that it has begun appointing dealers that will represent the Fiat Brand in the United States.

The dealers appointed in this first phase have plans in place and will be ready to take orders for the iconic Fiat 500 subcompact. Chrysler Group continues to work with some dealers on their proposals and will name additional Fiat dealers by the end of the year. In all, Chrysler Group would like to have Fiat dealers in 119 markets in the U.S., mostly in areas chosen for their high concentration of small-car registrations.

Chrysler Group's Fiat dealer selection team has spent the last few weeks reviewing proposals from existing Chrysler Group dealers who want to add the Fiat franchise to their brand portfolio. The dealers provided detailed facility, marketing, sales and service plans in their proposals.

"We have carefully considered each of these dealer proposals looking for the best locations and the most creative plans," said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group's vice president of network development and fleet operations. "We are thrilled with their level of interest in securing the Fiat franchise and in the innovative proposals they have submitted. We're excited to be at the point where we now can start appointing our Fiat dealer network."

"We are looking for a customer experience that is as unique and personalized as the Fiat 500 itself," said Laura Soave, head of Fiat Brand North America. "Some of the proposals are extremely creative and in many cases not only met but exceeded our expectations. We are looking forward to working with our dealer team for the successful launch of the Fiat Brand in the United States and offering our customers the personal experience that they deserve in our Fiat Studios."

Chrysler Group dealers presented interim and long-term facility plans that are both imaginative and resourceful. Some dealers will build new state-of-the art facilities, while others plan to convert on-site used car and other buildings into Fiat dealerships. Some dealers will purchase former auto dealerships, while others are snapping up empty retail stores in their markets.

Dealers from outside the Chrysler Group dealer network also have shown great interest in securing the Fiat franchise. The company is now looking at their proposals as well.

Chrysler Group is building the Fiat 500 in its Toluca, Mexico assembly plant.