Fiat has opened its revamped EUR1bn (US$1.3bn) plant in Serbia which will produce the 500L.
Reconstruction of the 1.4m sq m former Zastava plant at Kragujevac has taken three years and the opening ceremony was attended by Serbian prime minister Mirko Cvetkovic and Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne.
Fiat said the work included updated infrastructure, new roofing, new production shops, land remediation and the installation of new machinery and production systems.
The 500L, unveiled at the Geneva show in March, will be exported within Europe and around the world with commercial launch planned for the last quarter of this year.
By the end of 2012, some 2,400 people will be employed at the plant plus a further 1,000 with suppliers nearby. Once fully operational, the plant will have a production capacity of up to 200,000 cars a year.