The new model to be produced at Fiat’s factory in Kragujevac will be a small off-road vehicle, and the annual production, which should start by the end of 2019, will amount to 50,000 cars.
The Italian media specializing in the automobile industry have reported that the name of the model is not yet known, but other details are.
The new model – a small SUV – dubbed “Panda on steroids”, will resemble Fiat Panda Cross, a small off-road vehicle produced in Italy.
However, the new model will be much larger, at 4.1 meters in length. It will also have a larger trunk, with a capacity of 400 litres, as well as five seats. The model will come in three petrol engine options, with gas and methane options available as well.
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The two-cylinder turbocharged engines (0.9 litres) will have two versions – 85 and 105 horsepower, while the three-cylinder 1.0 turbo engine will be 120 horsepower. So far, the Italian carmaker has no plans to produce this model with a diesel engine.
The Italian media have also reported that the production of the new model might even begin before the end of 2019.
The production of a small off-road vehicle in Kragujevac is part of the long-term plan of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Corporation. If the production projection of 50,000 of these SUVs is realized, the Kragujevac factory could reach the record production numbers from 2014, when the plant produced over 116,000 Fiat 500Ls. Although the information on the number of vehicles produced this year is not yet known, it should not be much less than in 2017, when more than 63,000 Fiat 500Ls was sold in Europe alone.
The president of the trade union at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) factory in Kragujevac, Zoran Markovic, told Blic that he had not heard anything about the production of the new model, but that it was welcome as it would provide more work for the employees.
“We have been expecting such news for a long time. If this happens, more workers will be employed. Now, we have about 2,400 workers, but we also have a lot of days when the production is in recess, about 70. The current model has been produced for six years here, with the annual production amounting to about 60,000 vehicles. The capacity of the factory is 150,000 vehicles and the factory meets all the conditions – from the workforce to the latest technology – to start producing the new model”, Zoran Markovic adds.
The production in Kragujevac is over for this year and the workers will be on vacation by the end of December. In the past years, production has been in recess since mid-December to Christmas holidays. This year, the production recess came sooner because the plant produced enough vehicles to satisfy market demands, but also because of the company’s calculation that it is better to have one longer instead of several shorter production stoppages.
FCA managers are due to present a plan for further production by the end of December or early January.
The agreement on the subsidized status of the company, which Serbia concluded with the Italian-American carmaker, expired at the end of September. Despite the speculation that FCA will leave Serbia, the automotive giant will definitely remain here. This was confirmed by the highest representatives of the Serbian authorities, but also the fact that FCA will introduce a hybrid version of Fiat 500L which is produced in Kragujevac.
This post is also available in: Italiano