BELGRADE -- Fiat will export more than 90 percent of its Serbian car production through the port of Bar in Montenegro.
The carmaker will begin serial production of the 500L in Serbia in the second quarter. Fiat currently builds the Punto subcompact in Serbia.
In total, some 90,000 Fiat cars will be shipped through the port of Bar in the first year, with a gradual increase to 200,000 vehicles in three years, Montenegro's transportation ministry said.
The port will also handle imports of car parts from Italy for the Fiat plant in Serbia, the ministry said after the accord was signed in Bar on Thursday between Fiat's shipper Grimaldi Group and Montecargo AD, the local provider of rail cargo services in Luka Bar.
Fiat's factory in Serbia is a joint venture with the Serbian government, created when the carmaker took over the now defunct Zastava Automobili in Kragujevac, central Serbia, to become a 67 percent owner of Fiat Automobili Srbija.
Sales of the five-door 500L will begin in the fourth quarter in Europe and early 2013 in the United States.
Output of the high-roofed 500L will expand the retro-styled 500 range to four models. The 500L will replace the current Idea and Multipla models in Fiat's lineup.
A production-ready version of the 500L will be unveiled at the Geneva auto show next month.
Sources: Bloomberg and Automotive News Europe