Fiat to Cut 30% of Jobs in Serbia as 500L Falls Victim to Crossovers

Fiat 500L 1 photo
Photo: Fiat
Many European automakers recognized that minivans, especially the subcompact ones, can't survive. That's why the Renault replaced the Modus with the Captur, for example. But Fiat didn't see the writing on the wall and tried to make a 5-door 500, the 500L.
It received plenty of criticism when arriving in the US, not to mention a costly recall regarding the twin-clutch gearbox. The 500L wasn't very popular in Europe either...

Why are we using the past tense, it's not dead? Anyway, the news of the day for the Serbians is that Fiat plans to cut 30% of the workforce at the factory that makes this car.

There are no clear details yet, just stuff leaking out from the discussions between the union and FCA. But Fiat has admitted it will go from three shifts to just two.

We feel bad for the 900 or so workers that have to lose their jobs. Even though they will receive compensation, finding new work after doing the same thing for four years is difficult. Fiat opened the factory in Kragujevac back in 2012, and it's partly owned by the local government.

It's not like Fiat wants the car to fail either. The factory cost them about a million euros to build, but in 2015, it only made about 100,000 units. For the first quarter of 2016, demand fell another 16%.

It's been the same story all over Europe. Last year, Honda UK had to cut the third shift because of low demand for the Civic hatchback. However, they may have solved the problem by going global with the next-gen car and exporting it to the US.

As we've mentioned already, the 500L has been on sale in America since the brand's re-launch. However, US sales fell 63% in the period to May, reaching a low of 2,064 units.

The 500L has a complete model range encompassing a long wheelbase version, frugal diesel engines, and the Trekking crossover version.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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