The 500L is not selling as well as Fiat hoped.

Fiat has announced it has temporarily stopped production of the family-friendly 500L in the Kragujevac, Serbia, factory that it operates jointly with the Serbian government.

Eschewing precise details, the company issued a brief statement that blames the situation on temporary external setbacks that are "related to the situation in the European and global automotive markets."

Sometimes criticized for its polarizing design, the 500L has fared relatively poorly in the United States where just 8,262 examples have been sold over the first eight months of the year. The more rugged-looking 500L Trekking (pictured) and the addition of limited-edition models like the Beats Edition have done little to boost sales.

To worsen the matter, Fiat recently ordered its U.S. dealers to stop selling the 500L while it fixes a defective knee airbag, a problem that affects nearly 30,000 cars in the United States and in Canada. The stop-sale order caused sales to plummet by 97 percent last month to a new low of 33 500Ls sold. Defective cars are currently being repaired so sales are expected to pick up in the coming weeks.

The situation is not much brighter on the other side of the pond, where the 500L has largely failed to secure a sizable share of the new car market since its introduction in 2012.

Fiat has not disclosed when 500L production will kick off again.