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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