The Serbian unit of Fiat SpA has trimmed its annual output forecast for the Fiat 500L lineup due to delays in introducing the model range in Russia, according to Antonio Ferrara, chief executive of Fiat Automobili Srbija. Ferrara trimmed the unit’s upper end of the expected sales from 150,000 to 140,000 vehicles as sales to the Russian market have yet to commence.
He remarked that if the Russian market will continue to delay, they have to further change the sales forecast. In mid-March 2013, the company told a business forum in Serbia that the site expected to build between 110,000 and 150,000 units. Serbia currently has a free-trade agreement with Russia, but it excludes cars.
The country has been pushing to have cars included in the free-trade agreement to allow exports of Fiat vehicles to Russia under more favorable terms. The site is a EUR1 billion ($1.3 billion) joint venture between Serbia and Fiat. Established in 2008, the joint venture is 67 percent owned by Fiat and 33 percent by the Serbian state.
Exports from the Kragujevac site are considered a key driver of economic growth in Serbia, which recently recovered from recession in the first quarter of 2013. Fiat recently unveiled the seven-seat 500L Living minivan, the latest model in the 500L family