Fiat plans to intensify production at the former Zastava Automobili factory in Serbia

Article by Christian A., on April 14, 2012

Fiat plans to intensify production at the former Zastava Automobili factory in Kragujevac, central Serbia, as one of its suppliers has been granted a 20 million euros ($26 million) loan from the World Bank. A key Fiat supplier in Serbia is getting the loan in order to help revitalize the automotive industry in the country.

This plant had been where the Yugo small car was produced when the country was under Communist rule. Fiat presently produces the Punto subcompact at the plant and this is also where production of the 500L will begin this month. The loan was approved by the World Bank's private lending arm, the International Finance Corp.

The recipient of the loan is PMC Automotive, a joint venture between Italian automotive supplier CLN Group and PROMA Group. The lender said that this loan is a move by the IFC to support Serbia’s goal to revive its car industry and to create new skilled jobs. The metal-stamping factory of PMC Automotive has about 370 employees.

It is the supplier of parts for the Kragujevac plant as Fiat prepares to increase the current 20,000-car capacity of this facility to 140,000 in 2013. In the fourth quarter in Europe is when Fiat starts selling the 500L, a longer version of Fiat's retro-styled 500 minicar.

It is the replacement for the existing Idea and Multipla models found in Fiat's lineup. Starting in early 2013, the 500L will be exported to the U.S. The Kragujevac factory is a joint venture with the Serbian government, formed when Fiat took control of the defunct Zastava Automobili to become a 67% owner of Fiat Automobili Srbija.

The new Fiat 500L is a good example of the brand’s “Simply More” principle implemented through a multi-space concept. This is the same method used when the brand introduced the 600 Multipla as a concept for a compact people carrier. This latest offering from Fiat is able to reinterpret the compact car class and give it a more contemporary family through an emotional approach.

The brand makes this possible by using some of the styles seen in the 500 and takes it to new heights. There are many features that are immediately recognizable in the Fiat 500L and one of these is the body design which utilizes “gentler” shapes rather than the tight lines and edges. This is known as the non-aggressive “placid” object which projects charm and projects a configuration that is more balanced for the environment and urban landscape.

To describe the 500L, it is not enough to say that it is functional and comfortable as it is cool as well. It showcases Italian style but puts in a unique appearance. This model is thus able to translate the unique ability of the brand to create and design vehicles which are truly pioneering when it comes to form and substance. It is this substance that is made for a concept known as “space-efficiency” and has managed to differentiate all of the innovative Fiat models.

A quick look at the new Fiat 500L and one is likely to see that that the iconic nature of this vehicle is the one that shapes the matrix of this whole project. Specifically, these are the personality and the force of the design.

Given that it was developed by utilizing the new B-segment platform of the brand, this makes the 500L an innovative model that is suitable to a wider and more diversified group of customers. In addition, the brand also hopes that through the 500L, it will be able to set new standards when it comes to on-board space, and of course, comfort.

As such, this makes the 500L a functional car that can not only “talk” with the driver but also have that quality that is guaranteed to appreciate as the years pass. That it offers space is not surprising as when the 500L was developed, one of the objectives set during the planning stage was that it needed to offer a bigger volume on the inside.

This was made possible by modifying a number of the mechanical elements as decided on by the design team and engineering team. The architecture of the model thus has general lines which make use of the “cab forward” philosophy and which lowers the bonnet and the body on the front. This results in being able to have more space on the interior particularly with the waistline’s height and that of the roof. The “empathetic” ability of the design of the 500L elevates the overall ergonomics.

Topics: fiat, production

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