TURIN, Italy -- Fiat plans to offer a longer, high-roof variant of its 500 minicar.
The five-seat 500L -- the L stands for large -- will be built in Serbia and exported to the United States beginning early next year.
Sales in Europe will start in the fourth quarter. Fiat also plans to offer a seven-seat version in Europe. But company executives believe American customers won't buy a seven-seater as small as the 500L.
The five-door, previously known only by its L-Zero code name, will debut next month at the Geneva auto show.
The car's front end is similar to that of the 500, but the 500L sits on a wider version of the small-vehicle architecture used by the Fiat Punto subcompact. The 500L is 163.0 inches long, or 2.32 inches longer than the 500 hatchback.
Fiat will build the car at its plant in Kragujevac, Serbia. Chrysler Group builds the 500 hatchback in Toluca, Mexico, for the North American, Latin American and China markets.
This is the second incarnation for the Fiat 500L. Between 1968 and 1972, Fiat offered a 500L with superior equipment levels. Back then the L stood for lusso (luxury in Italian).