Fiat has unveiled its new EUR1-billion production line in Kragujevac in Serbia, after more than three years of refitting and reengineering the plant. The Kragujevac plant will be producing Fiat’s 500L model, the larger five-seat variant of the 550 minicar, starting late 2012. According to Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne, the Kragujevac plant would create around 2,400 jobs once it starts full operation by the end of 2012.
Marchionne said the plant is being completely re-engineered to fit into Fiat and Chrysler standards. The EUR1 billion investments represent the joint venture created by Fiat and the Serbian state, which owns roughly 67% and 33% stake respectively. Once operational, the Kragujevac production line will be able to build 200,000 Fiat 500L cars annually.
The Kragujevac plant was once home to the Yugo car and was damaged by NATO bombs during the Kosovo war of 1999. The plant has been producing Fiat Punto compacts since 2009. The completion of the Kragujevac plant is seen to be a major campaign boost for President Boris Tadic's Democratic Party for the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 6, as it will lessen the impact of the rising unemployment in the Serbian region.
Fiat 500 has grown to accommodate new needs and new experiences after having sold 800,000 cars in 110 countries worldwide. It is the perfect super-compact car for young people and for city driving. So now comes the Fiat 500L, which is the first in the 500 family to contain life’s pleasures and greatest emotions. It’s the first car to embrace children, journeys, friends, community, and music.
A core part of Fiat’s history links different experiences and different moments. And because of this, personalities moved by profound sensitivity and with the ability to interpret the evolution of the car have made their contribution. Fiat Design has taken a new path that is still committed to defining products that share a wealth of design and technical experiences, as well as products that are meant to protect the distinctive “inventive aptitude” that contributed greatly to the worldwide success of Italian design.
A genuine cornerstone of Fiat’s identity is a succession of "records" that clearly came out from the 1956 Fiat 600 Multipla, to the 1957 Fiat 500, the 1972 Fiat 127, the 1980 Panda, the 1983 Uno, and the 1998 Multipla, so that we can comprehend the most innovative and radical car tuning.
Additionally, the Fiat 500L resulted from Fiat designers having to tackle issues relating to brand strategies, technological feasibility, and studies that all set out to understand what relationship people will have in the future with the car. This is an approach that designers take to try to go beyond form-function connection and in order to focus on the consumer and his needs.