CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Fiat sees production of U.S. 500L starting Feb 2013
(Corrects month of Fiat 500L launch in Italy in second paragraph to September from May)
* Fiat CEO sees 500L in U.S. showrooms by June 2013
* Serbia says will meet obligations to Fiat
By Aleksandar Vasovic
KRAGUJEVAC, Serbia, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat SpA plans to unveil its 500L model in the U.S. market at the Detroit car show in January 2013 and to launch production in Serbia the following month, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Tuesday.
This larger, four-door version of Fiat's best-selling retro-styled subcompact is made in the group's Kragujevac plant and will go on sale in Italy on Sept. 22 and in the United states by mid-year 2013.
"The American model will be shown in Detroit in January 2013. We will probably see it in American showrooms by June 2013," Marchionne said after touring the Kragujevac plant with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.
Marchionne's visit followed a deal last week between Serbia and Fiat to reschedule payments by the cash-strapped Balkan country to the Italian carmaker for the joint car-plant venture.
The 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) venture is 67 percent owned by Fiat and 33 percent by the Serbian state, which is weighed down by public debt of almost 55 percent of GDP and a budget deficit of 7.1 percent.
The factory opened its gates on April 14 and is forecast to produce up to 200,000 cars per year.
Serbia owes Fiat 90 million euros this year, of which the new Socialist-led government has offered to pay 50 million once it revises its 2012 budget in September. The rest would follow in 2013.
The government has also pledged to complete construction this year of a four-lane road linking the factory and the nearby E75 pan-European highway. "We will fulfil all our obligations," Nikolic said. "By the end of the year we will pay 50 million euros and the rest by March 2013." ($1 = 0.7961 euros) (Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by David Holmes)
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