Fiat opens production line in Serbia to build 500L model image

Fiat Spa today inaugurated the new Fiat car production facility in Kragujevac, where the Italian automaker will produce the 500L model.

This opening represents the conclusion of three years of extensive and comprehensive work at the 1.4 million square meter site, which included improvements to the surrounding infrastructure, new roofing for the plant, new production shops, land remediation and the installation of world class machinery and production systems, Fiat said on a statement.

Fiat hopes to sell about 160,000 hatchbacks a year produced in this central Serbian town, which was selected to take advantage of low wages, tax breaks and government subsidies.

Fiat and the Serbian government have a 67-33 percent share respectively in a joint company, Fiat Cars Serbia. Some €1 billion ($1.3 billion) was reportedly invested in the refurbishing and equipping of the old Zastava car factory in Kragujevac for the new Fiat production line.

The factory in Kragujevac used to produce Yugo a boxy little model that was considered the worst quality car ever imported in the U.S. during the 1980s.

The 500L will arrive in Europe in Q4 2012 and will be exported to the states in early 2013.
Fiat’s new 500L five-door MPV will—if you believe the company—go on sale in the U.S. in 2013, after debuting at the upcoming 2012 Geneva auto show.

It’ll launch in Europe near the end of 2012 with that fabulous TwinAir engine, the 1.4-litre petrol, and a 1.3-litre Multijet II diesel.

The new MPV is based on a modified Panda platform, and is expected to be offered with five or seven seats. Front-wheel drive will be standard, but a 4×4 option will also be offered.