The FIAT brand is celebrating the grand opening of FIAT of Chicago, the first FIAT studio to open in downtown Chicago.
Located at 645 West Randolph St., just east of the Kennedy Expressway, the studio is the commercial anchor for a contemporary 17-story condominium high rise and is family owned and operated by Antonio Scalzo, president, and his son Carmelo Scalzo, vice president.
Four FIAT studios are located in the greater Chicago area.
"I heartily welcome FIAT of Chicago to our growing network of FIAT studios," said Timothy Kuniskis, head of FIAT Brand North America. "With its exceptional location and know-how, FIAT of Chicago will expand our customer reach in this critical market, as we continue to grow our brand nationwide with 178 studios across the United States."
FIAT of Chicago and Chicago Social Magazine will mark the occasion with a grand opening celebration Aug. 23. The festive Italian evening will include a fashion show, food, refreshments and pop-up lounge.
Antonio Scalzo grew up in Calabria, Italy, working on Fiat and Alfa Romeo cars as a young mechanic. He moved to Chicago in his early 20s and worked days, nights, even weekends, trying to realize the American dream of one day owning his own business.
Antonio got that chance in 1979 when he purchased Suburban Auto Imports, a small FIAT dealership in the western suburbs of Chicago. He grew that business into the largest volume Fiat/Alfa Romeo dealership in the U.S.
FIAT of Chicago opened its doors in late July and has already been warmly received by the neighborhood, said Carmelo Scalzo, who will run the day-to-day operations in the studio.
"We think the sky's the limit at this location," he said. "Our customers are excited not only about having a FIAT studio in their neighborhood but also about the return of the FIAT brand to the United States."
FIAT of Chicago features up to 25 Fiat models on its showroom floor and stocks another 50 to 60 vehicles, all indoors.
FIAT Brand Promotion
To coincide with the grand opening, the FIAT brand is placing advertising wraps on the Chicago 'L' trains. The wraps will be featured on both the Red and Blue lines that are expected to carry more than 21 million riders to their destinations over the next eight weeks.
The wrap is two train cars wide and depicts the Fiat 500 Abarth leaving the coast of Italy on the left and arriving in downtown Chicago on the right. In between, the advertising wrap proclaims "The next wave of Italians has come to Chicago." The advertising initiative is linked with the new broadcast commercial, "Immigrants," that depicts the tale of the FIAT brand's arrival in the U.S. market. That spot features vehicles joyously cliff-diving and leaping into the sea as they make their way from Italy to the U.S.
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