• Fiat 500L front 3/4

  • Fiat 500L rear 3/4

Several years ago, we were surprised to discover that the Yugo was still being made. Sometimes dubbed the worst car in history, Serbian automaker Zastava continued producing the Yugo through 2008 when the last one rolled off the assembly line in Kragujevac after a twenty-year production run. That was only months after Fiat inked a deal to buy the company and its assets, including the factory.

Now almost four years later, Fiat has finished upgrading the Cold War-era assembly plant into what it now calls its most advanced factory yet. Inaugurated just the other day by Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, the former Zastava plant has undergone a billion-euro renovation, including new production shops, machinery, infrastructure, landscaping and roof over a 1.4 million square meter site.

By the end of the year, the plant will employ a workforce of some 2,400. Their first task will be production of the new 500L mini-minivan (pictured above), which is scheduled to begin delivery (at a rate of as many as 200,000 units each year) from the former Yugoslavian country to markets across Europe and around the world later this year.
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Opening ceremony in Serbia for Fiat's most advanced car plant

Mirko Cvetkovic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, together with Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat SpA, today 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 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.

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 annum.


Turin-Kragujevac, 16 April 2012


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  • 20 Comments
      Danaon
      • 2 Years Ago
      My mom had a Yugo when I was a kid. I guess she had the only reliable one, she had it for 5 years and nothing went wrong with it until a speedo cable snapped. Couldn't pass inspection without a speedo and we couldn't find another cable, so we got rid of the car. She must've driven that car at least 70k miles, she had a long commute.
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Danaon
        Yup, my Dad worked with a guy that bought one for $900 as a winter beater in the Boston area. Ran forever, only replaced tires, battery, exhaust and brake pads, sold it for $500 with over 200k miles on it
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      Always nice to see a company restarting an old plant rather than building a new one. Kudos, Fiat.
      axordonez
      • 2 Years Ago
      YUGO GIRL!... :o)
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      Call me weird but I'd love to find a Yugo!!!'
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Teleny411
        OK, you're weird, but I get you. I have a fondness for little orphan underdog cars myself
      Muttons
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Fiat turns old Yugo factory into its most advanced plant for building the horrible monstrosity seen below" Fixed yur headline.
      Bill Burke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thank God for Chrysler ! Italy is going through some tough times and Fiat is hurting domestically. Just in the nick of time the 500's sales in the US are picking up steam and this new 500L will give additional impetous to that momentum. Unlike my friend Muttons, I think Fiat did a reasonable job of integrating enough 500 styling ques into the L to make it pragmatically cute, which will find a ready market. The real news is in the detailed features and the cutting edge manufacturing Fiat and Chrysler has brought to the Yugo facility. Considering the present exceptional quality of the vehicles being produced by Chrysler, the L will soon establish itself as a flexible, practical and dependable 500 stable mate. Works for me.
        Latchezar
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        "Considering the present exceptional quality of the vehicles being produced by Chrysler..." What a delightful irony....
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Latchezar
          [blocked]
        HydraulicDragon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        Ive seen and felt the interior of the Fiat 500, and the dashboard is made out of a Gott plastic garbage can. Seriously. I owned a 1993 geo metro, and the dash is comparible to a 500. Ill admit my time with the car was extremely limited, but my first impression is that they charge too much for the car. Im not saying its a bad vehicle, but the reason sales are low is that it costs more than most americans are willing pay for its level of quality. A fully decked out Fiesta is a nice vehicle, solid build quality, and more powerful and slightly larger.
        Anders
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        Chrysler didn't bring anything to this factory, they are still two separate companies. This is all Fiat.
      pavsterrocks
      • 2 Years Ago
      Where are the photos of this 'most advanced car plant'?
      Chupa Cabra
      • 2 Years Ago
      Also, my current car is a MINI S convertible. Great car- handles like a go kart. The X/19 owned is the only car I've owned that handles as well as my MINI. However, I'm interested in the new Dodge Dart. I previously owned a V-6 Dodge Charger SXT until I was carjacked .The Charger is one the favorite cars I've owned.
      Chupa Cabra
      • 2 Years Ago
      I 've owned several Fiats- a 131 Mirafiori, an x/19 and Fiat Strada. They were all fun to drive cars- especially the mid-engined X/19. Never a problem w/any of them. Also, the Strada was a great alternative the VW Rabbit.
      MR. DAN
      • 2 Years Ago
      I still have my 88 YUGO and two other FIAT's , a 84 x1/9 and an 81 131 BRAVA. I am interested in the new 500L as a replacement to my Toyota wagon.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jeff Fahringer
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've been driving a Yugo since 1988, and very happy with it. Maybe in another 10 years I'll have to trade it in for a Fiat!
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