Fiat may begin full production of a new model, codenamed "L-zero," in Serbia in May or June 2012 after technical tests are done. This vehicle is perceived to be a potential successor to the Lancia Musa and Idea models.
The new model is mainly developed for the European markets such as Russia, according to Antonio Cesare Ferrara, who heads Fiat Automobili Srbija -- the joint venture of Fiat and the Serbian government.
Ferrara further stated that the new model may also be introduced in the United States in a later stage, according to Autonews. The factory where the new model will be built is located around 110 km or 68 miles from the capital Belgrade, and is projected to have a production capacity of up to 250,000 units annually.
However, the actual volume will depend on the demand of the vehicle, according to Ferrara. The new Fiat vehicle is described as a B-segment, five-seater with a length of 4.1 meters (13.5 feet) to 4.25 meters in its basic variant.
Ferrara disclosed that it will probably be equipped with a "Twin Air" engine. He further stated that it will have an extended version that will seat seven. The Balkan country expects the output of Fiat to contribute 0.4 percent to growth next year, or a cumulative 2 percent through 2016.
The investment of Fiat in Serbia will reach 850 million euros or $1.16 billion by the end of the year, This investment includes the cost of cleaning up and rebuilding the dilapidated Zastava facilities as well as importing "state-of-the art production equipment" from Japan, Italy, and Germany, including Komatsu Ltd. presses.