7-seater Fiat 500L prototype presented to ministers

KRAGUJEVAC -- The prototype of the new Fiat 500L with seven seats was presented to Mlađan Dinkić and Ivica Dačić at the Fiat Automobili Srbije (Automobiles Serbia).


Serbia's economy minister and prime minister were on Monday touring the factory based in Kragujevac, central Serbia.

Dinkić told reporters that Fiat Automobiles Serbia would launch serial production of the new model and employ several hundred more people in May.

The new Fiat 500XL is primarily aimed at the U.S. market and according to the minister, the will be sold there starting this summer.

Dačić stated that the talks during his visit to Russia in April would cover the possibility for the duty-free sale of Fiat vehicles on the Russian market.

“Something is changing in Serbia and this is a major inspiration and encouragement for continuing the work on this project,” Dačić said.

Fiat Automobiles Serbia Director General Antonio Cesare Ferrara stated that a billion euros have been invested in the Fiat factory in Kragujevac and added that the plant is currently working in its full capacity.

He recalled that 30,000 standard Fiat 500L vehicles were produced by the end of 2012.

Pointing out that 99 percent of the factory's output is exported, Ferrara stated that the planned production in 2013 ranges from 110,000 to 180,000 cars depending on market demand.

Serial production of Fiat 500L in the Kragujevac factory began on July 4, 2012, and the output is exported to over 100 markets, including the U.S., regions in Asia and the Pacific.

According to Ferrara, the new model with seven seats has a 1.6 diesel engine and runs on methane. Its working version was not presented to the public and reporters because it is kept as an industrial secret.

Ivica Dačić said that he was "fascinated by the high level of technology" at Fiat and that the car factory could be expected to be Serbia's "best deal" in the next decades.

Dinkić said that he was "impressed" by what he saw at the factory and that it had "the most state of the art technology that exists in any factory in the world."

"I am pleased that the demand for the cars produced in Kragujevac is growing and that every fifth dinar in the total exports of Serbia will originate from the factory in Kragujevac," said Dinkić.