Marchionne Opens Serbian Factory to Make New Model

Plant will employ 24,000 to turn out 300,000 cars annually

Sergio Marchionne, general manager of Fiat (IW 1000/81) and Chrysler, on April 16, opened an auto plant in the central Serbian town of Kragujevac to produce a new Fiat 500L model, Serbian state TV reported.

The Fiat Srbija (FAS) factory, built on the grounds of Serbia's former automaker Zastava, will employ 2,400 workers by the end of the year and turn out 300,000 cars annually, the company said.

The new model, the Fiat 500L, was presented at the international car show in Geneva. It is being assembled in Serbia under the terms of an accord signed by the Italian car giant and the Serbian government in 2008.

Turin-based Fiat owns 67% of FAS and the remainder is held by the state.

Production of Fiat 500L is to start next month and the first exports towards European Union markets are expected in June.

Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic attended the launch after Marchionne met earlier with outgoing president Boris Tadic for a "working lunch to discuss further investment projects," the state television RTS reported.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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