Yesterday, there was an opening ceremony in Serbia for Fiat’s most advanced car plant. This factory will produce the new Fiat 500L, the larger 4 door MPV style vehicle Fiat will introduce here in the US for the 2013 model year.
Mirko Cvetkovic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, together with Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat SpA, inaugurated the new Fiat car production facility in Kragujevac.
More than 150 guests from the political and business arenas attended the ceremony together with workers.
In welcoming the Prime Minister, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne paid tribute to Serbia’s significant program of modernization which has created “a dynamic environment that is attractive to foreign investors. It is a great privilege for Fiat to be able to participate in the country’s future growth”.
This opening represents the conclusion of three years of extensive and comprehensive work at the 1.4 million square meter site, which included improvements to the surrounding infrastructure, new roofing for the plant, new production shops, land remediation and the installation of world class machinery and production systems. A total of approximately $1.3 billion (€1 billion) has been invested at the site.
The Kragujevac plant will produce the new Fiat 500L, which had its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show this March. The 500L will be exported to markets in Europe and around the world with commercial launch planned for the last quarter of 2012.
Pre-production Fiat 500Ls began being manufactured yesterday with serial production to begin at the end of May. By the end of the year, 30,000 units are expected to be shipped from the Montenegrin port city of Bar to markets abroad. The factory's output target next year is 160,000 cars. Price of the Fiat 500L in Europe is estimated at €16,000.
The paint process at the Fiat Mirafiore factory in Italy
By the end of 2012, some 2,400 people will be employed at the plant plus a further 1,000 with suppliers at the nearby supplier park. Once fully operational, the plant will have a production capacity of up to 200,000 cars per year.
Adapted from Fiat SpA press release
Images: Fiat SpA