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.