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Posted on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

New Ann Arbor Fiat dealership open on Stadium Boulevard

By Ben Freed


The new dealership replaces a shop that was previously used by Chrysler Jeep of Ann Arbor for oil changes and prepping new cars for showrooms.

Joseph Tobianski |

Ann Arbor’s newest car dealership is one of only three Fiat locations in the state of Michigan.

The Suburban Collection dealership , located across the street from Suburban Chrysler Jeep of Ann Arbor, is still waiting for its finishing touches, but opened for business Dec. 31.

“We were just really excited to get it open,” Rob Tabet, general sales manager for both the Chrysler Jeep and Fiat dealerships, said.

“We honestly think that this is a match made in heaven. If there was a perfect market for Fiat it would be Ann Arbor. The culture behind the brand and the way of life in Ann Arbor just fit perfectly.”

Tabet said Suburban originally planned to open their one allotted Fiat dealership in Novi, but once the opportunity came to acquire the Chrysler Jeep of Ann Arbor with it’s extra lot across the street, plans changed.

“Timing-wise, everything just really worked out,” he said. “The fuel economy the brand offers is phenomenal and really meshes with what people in Ann Arbor want.”

Suburban broke ground on the new dealership at the beginning of October. Tabet said Redford-based Bloom General Contracting completed the project faster than expected.

“The weather was really on our side. We only had to halt construction for three days total during those three months,” he said.

“Bloom was just phenomenal, and so was the city of Ann Arbor. Obviously there’s hurdles every time you’re building a new structure, and the city was great to work with.”

Fiat is located in a smaller lot on the southwest side of West Stadium Boulevard that holds 56 cars. Tabet said he already is down to 50 cars and is ordering more as they are sold.

The dealership is 3,400 square feet and will have an espresso machine and artwork designed to give it what Tabet called “Ann Arbor flair." There are two fulltime salespeople at the dealership with another one or two expected to be hired in the coming months.

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Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Cute car, couldn't ever consider putting my children in the backseat of one of those though. Way to many distracted drivers these days to be driving anything other than a vehicle that is built on a truck chasis, and that will only lose in a collision with a big rig.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

A nice SUV is worth driving and saving a life. An American car. Not a tin can.

Ben Freed

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

Tabet also told me that a new 4-door Fiat will be coming soon to the Ann Arbor dealership. Could be worth checking out for those of you concerned about the car's smaller size.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

The 500L!

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

My dad bought a little Fiat as a second car back in the early 60's. I was too young to drive and we didn't have it that long. There was a time, I remember, when the joke was FIAT was an acronym for "Fix It Again Tony" .

Dog Guy

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

With automatic transmission, the Fiat 500 is rated at 34mpg highway. The Corvette is only 25mpg. Hard choice!


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

I love the looks of the Fiat's. Very much like the cars of old. I don't however like the modern prices.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Fiats are still cheaper than anything else out there given their incredible attention to detail and many options.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

I drove a Fiat 500 before it was released in the US, and I guarantee that accident related deaths will increase because of these smaller, underpowered cars. Buyer beware when leaving downtown AA.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

People buy these cars for running around town, not for driving across the country. I bought the Dodge Dart because it has the FIAT chassis and engine but puts a bit more armor plating around the occupants.

Lou Perry

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

It has taken no time for Suburban to build the Fiat dealership and it is taking years for the Mini dealership to be built on Jackson Rd. The Mini people should revisit who their dealer is.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 8 p.m.

I could be wrong, but the Fiat dealership had to deal with the City of Ann Arbor vs. the Mini dealership has to deal with Scio, a lot of things depend on how well organized and capitalized your project is.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

In the early 80's I was the happy owner of an Autobianchi, a car closely connected to Fiat (it had a Fiat engine). It was an adorable little car with four doors and a hatchback that was classified a "truck" due to those attributes, the irony of which afforded me great pleasure. Its versatility included zippiness, ease of parking, and how much it could carry: I was able to fit 7 passengers, albeit tightly, on several desperate occasions.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Impressive this process was so quick ! So when is the Mini-Cooper dealership going to open on Jackson Rd ???? is taking forever ----

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Only a car the size of a Fiat could have a dealership on a piece of land that small. I believe this was once a gas station.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : midnight

It was a gas station at one time. I use to get gas there. I think it was an AMOCO station. But yes, I watched them tear down a small piece of my history and those who frequented that gas station. Sad.

Ben Freed

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

According to Tabet it was previously used as a prepping center for new cars and for Oil changes. It may have been a gas station as well at one point.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Nice to see a new Dealership open somewhere other than Jackson Road. I wonder how long before Fiat will reintroduce Alfas to the US market?


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

By the end of the year the 4C will be introduced.

Ann English

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

The La Fontaine dealerships don't cluster with other dealerships. Its Chevrolet dealership in Dexter stands alone. I wouldn't be surprised if its Chrysler dealership in Saline does.

Ann English

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

You mean Alfa Romeos are still being made? I remember seeing two of them in the area back in the very late 1980s. The Fiat dealership, like those on Jackson Road, is in the west side of town. I noticed two weeks ago that Sesi, after being in eastern Ypsilanti during the life of its founder, is now located on Jackson Road.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

So after you pay postal service rates you head to this dealership to save money? I don't think so. You will find me across the street looking at nice new and used Chrysler products.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

Clustering simlar businesses works fine for those who live close to the selected sites, but I live 15 miles from Jackson Road. Not a daunting distance until a vehicle requires service. A single service call requires 90 miles of driving! 15 miles for the car requiring service, plus 15 miles for the "chase car" which will provide transport home for me, plus 15 miles from the Dealership back home. This totals 45 miles of driving and needs to be repeated when service is complete. Having a choice of Dealerships close to my home would be advantageous to me, and I had this option until the recent recession. Hopefully this scenario will return. My recollection of recent vehicle competitive shopping and comparison research is that much of it is now performed via the internet, including receiving quotes from the selling Dealerships. In this electronic age the clustering of Dealerships is becomming a competitive disadvantage.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

The new Fiat dealership will do just fine where they've located. If economic research was so spot on, then Howard Cooper would have folded years ago. Suburban has opened numerous dealerships and seems to have a good handle on how to do business successfully. You can't always follow the crowd.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

yes, they're already here.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

You must not be aware of the economic research that shows that the clustering of similar businesses increases overall business to everybody. When people go car shopping, they appreciate the notion that all the dealers are located very close together. Now, when somebody goes car shopping, they'll go to Jackson Road, then *maybe* they'll go to the Fiat dealership "if they have time." I won't say it was the smartest decision by the dealer.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

As a former Fiat owner from the 1960's to the the 1990's I wish them well. I really loved my Fiats.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

Those little Fiats are very popular in Europe. They look like nice cars. Good to see "mini" cars in fashion in the US. Kudos to Suburban on the building remodel, and best wishes for your new business endeavor.