In the automotive industry, there are no rules that determine when an old model should be redesigned or replaced with a completely new one, but the first indicator to predict a new strategy is the decline in vehicle sales and orders.
According to information now available, last year about 20,000 vehicles rolled off the production lines at the Fiat Automobili Srbija plant in Kragujevac, a figure significantly lower than the record in 2013, when 117,000 cars were produced.
Former racing champion Andrej Kulundžić says that it is clear that the Fiat 500 L model is slowly becoming outdated, so a new strategy is needed to invent a new model or else the factory might be sold or closed.
July will mark exactly 10 years since the start of production of the Fiat 500 L model, which had slight modifications in 2016, a serious period in terms of the lifespan of a model.
“Car models in the automotive industry change every seven to eight years, while some of restyling, such as redesigning light clusters or plastic parts, is done every three to four years. The situation with Fiat is a bit different because their 500 model has been around since 2007 and, with minor tweaks, still attracts the interest of car enthusiasts, although there are few examples like that in today’s automotive industry. The 500 L has lasted ten years because of the company’s philosophy and the Fiat as a brand name,” explains Kulundžić.
The car Fiat 500 L, produced in Kragujevac since 2012, is already classified as an older model, which affects its demand, which led to the Fiat factory in Serbia, which is designed to produce up to 200,000 cars per year, must gradually reduce production. Serbian media had previously reported unofficial information from the Italian parent company that the 500 L model was going to be replaced by a slightly larger model called the Gardiniera, while the possibility of producing a smaller SUV had been mentioned too. Official confirmation of this, however, never came.
There are still no official announcements about the launch of a new model produced in the Kragujevac plant.
“Stellantis, the company under which Fiat and Peugeot operate, was supposed to come up with an investment plan for each plant operating within the group in October last year. It has been reiterated that the Kragujevac plant will not be closed, especially since it has been said that it has the potential to quickly reorient itself towards the production of hybrid and electric cars,” Kulundžić concludes.
At the group level, Fiat has announced that it will switch completely to the production of electric cars by 2030 and that from 2025, it will also develop an electric variant for each Fiat model.
This post is also available in: Italiano