The Fiat 500L Lands In North America
LONDON – May 29, 2013: On the 23rd May, the ship carrying the first 3,000 Fiat 500L units for the North American market has docked in the port of Baltimore (United States) to unload its first consignment. The vessel then set sail for the Canadian port of Halifax where it completed the delivery of the remainder of its cargo on the 26th May.
The 3,000 cars were first taken by train from the Kragujevac plant in Serbia to the port of Bar in Montenegro, where they were loaded on the 10th May, ready for their trip to the coasts of America.
Production of the North American 500L model began at Kragujevac, the largest car factory in South-East Europe, in March. Last February, Fiat was awarded the prestigious title of 'Companybest 2012' by a jury from Autobest, the organisation for the automotive industry in emerging European markets, precisely for its investment in the reconstruction of the Serbian plant, which is now one of the most modern car factories in Europe.
Fiat Automobiles Serbia (FAS) plans to produce between 110,000 and 150,000 units in 2013 to satisfy demand from over 100 markets around the world, including North America, Asia and the Pacific region, where the Fiat 500L model is about to be launched. To cater for expansion in production and ambitious export plans for the Fiat 500L, the Serbian plant has taken on around 600 extra workers. The plant currently employs just over 3,000 people and gives work to a further 1,200 in supplier companies.
Elegant, innovative and environmentally friendly, the Fiat 500L is destined for certain success. It is compact on the outside but spacious on the inside, exceptionally versatile and boasts all-round protection, certified by the prestigious EuroNCAP 5 star safety rating. It is the only model in its segment with constantly growing sales in Europe despite the difficult economic climate. Nearly 34,000 units have been sold and registered since its European launch in late 2012.
These impressive figures confirm the great potential of the 500L. The car can be described as Fiat's 'City Lounge' as it effectively combines characteristics you would normally consider to be mutually incompatible: the compact external dimensions typical of the B segment, with the performance, generous interior and rich equipment typical of the C segment. All this comes at an accessible city-car price and with added value you cannot find elsewhere: the distinctive personality of the Fiat 500, a real Italian design icon.
The 500L stands out for its reduced emissions and fuel consumption, wide range of passenger space configurations and excellent flexibility in luggage carrying solutions. In fact, it boasts the best passenger space index in its class. Panoramic windows also guarantee the best visibility in the segment. Running costs and performance are another two best-in-class features. The range has also been complemented by the recent addition of two new engine options (the 105 HP 1.6 MultiJet II and the 105 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo) and the new Trekking version, offering a distinctive off-road look with raised suspension to cope with rough ground, as well as "Traction+" Fiat's innovative and intelligent system for additional front traction control. M+S tyres fitted as standard equipment will also improve grip over slippery surfaces. All this without compromising the space and functionality of the basic 500L, the Fiat 'City Lounge' designed to deliver life's little pleasures and its greatest emotions: kids, friends, travel, music and community.
One fascinating fact: the 3,000 Fiat 500L units shipped to North America are equipped with the brand new 160 HP 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine. This engine has been specially developed for the North American market and boasts the highest specific power, highest absolute power (160 HP) and highest torque (250 Nm) in its class. It is available with a manual, six-speed gearbox or six-speed dual dry clutch automatic transmission - another exclusive for this class of engine - so the North American Fiat 500L delivers excellent performance and great driving pleasure. These enviable characteristics are made even more interesting by typical European handling and precise, responsive steering.