Serbia Wants More than Fiat...

... and looks up to Slovakia for inspiration. The Serbian government intends to attract European money in its automotive industry, first and foremost from Italian manufacturer Fiat, who already plans to invest 100 million euros for equipment.

Slovakia managed, in a little under three years, to attract several major automotive players in the country, led by South Korean manufacturer Kia, which built its first European plant in the country.

"Slovakia is a model we want to look up to," Mladjan Dinkic, Serbian deputy prime minister was quoted as saying by Autonews. "And we can realise this if we ... cut the red tape and reform the public sector."

Fiat's approaching investment is the signal needed by Serbia to set its plans in motion. Also seen as a sign that the crisis is about to end, the Italian money will draw in additional small firms,

"All of this started intensifying in September. Those are all signals telling us that next year we could have a lot more investment in Serbia," Dinkic added.

The deal between the Serbian government and Fiat was struck last September, in the hope that the total 1 billion euros to be pumped by the Italians may help revive the almost inexistent local auto industry.

As the crisis struck, Fiat put its plans on halt, until now. According to the agreement, Fiat will build 200,000 small, A-segment cars a year.

Even with all the encouraging prospects, skepticism remains high among other investors.

"Serbia is still better at words than deeds," an investment banker told the source. "If they do press on with reforms we could see some results, although I doubt it would be of Slovak scale."
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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