Fiat maintains launch target for 500L despite delays in Serbia image

Fiat says its new 500L minivan will be launched as scheduled in September, despite possible delays at the Serbian plant.

The company fears infrastructure delays at the factory in Kragujevac where the 500L will be built, as Serbia’s new government is behind on 60-million euro payment to Fiat for the factory.

The Italian media reported that authorities in Serbia are also late in building an access road that will connect the plant to a main highway. Kragujevac is located 150 kilometers south of Belgrade, which is linked with western Europe by a highway.

So far, Fiat and the Serbian government have invested about one billion euros in the plant, which opened on April 14 and will eventually employ 2,400 people. The facility will make 200,000 cars per year when it will reach its maximum output.

Alfredo Altavilla, Fiat’s vice-chairman, will visit Serbia on Wednesday to meet with Serbian politicians, a Fiat spokesman said on Monday. The 500L minivan will be the fourth variant of the 500 range, in addition to the 500 hatchback, 500C convertible and Abarth performance version.

The new model will go on sale in Italy and France in September, with the rest of Europe to get the 500L in October. Prices will start at 15,550 euros. The car will also be sold next year in North America.