Fiat’s new 500L minivan has a starting price of 15,550 euros in Europe. Fiat declined to discuss its sales goals for the fourth variant of its 500 minicar range. At the media launch of this new model on July 3, Fiat brand global head Olivier Francois cited the “uncertainty of the European market” for the company’s decision not to give a sales target.
The 500L will be joining the 500 hatchback, Abarth performance version and 500C convertible. It will start selling in Italy and France this September, followed by the rest of Europe this October. It’s expected that the 500L will go on sale in North American, and maybe even in Asia, next year.
Francois said that the installed capacity for the 500L is 600 units each day at Fiat's plant in Kragujevac, Serbia. He also said that production started on July 4 – which marks the 55th anniversary of the original 500 model’s launch on July 4, 1957. Output is expected to increase to 550 units a day by the end of the year. Mauro Pierallini, Fiat Group's head of engineering, said that the 500 L project required the investment of a billion euros.
Pierallini said that 200 million euros are for research & development while another 800 million euros will be used to refurbish the plant. Francois said Fiat wants its 500L to dominate in the small minivan segment and rival the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, Citroen C3 Picasso and Ford B-Max.
In 2011, the Meriva was Europe's No. 1 small minivan after having sold 127,500 units. Meanwhile, the C3 Picasso achieved sales of 65,100 units while the Renault Modus/Grand Modus has 48,300, according to data from JATO Dynamics market researchers. Ford's B-Max starts selling this September.