Mayor: 15,000 Puntos in 2009

Kragujevac Mayor Veroljub Stevanović has told B92 that production of the Fiat Punto will begin in the city in March.

Source: B92, Tanjug

He says the revitalization of the Zastava car factory will be carried out at an agreed time and that all that remains is to ascertain exactly when production of the Punto class A, the new model planned for 2010, will begin.

Stevanović said he was optimistic and predicted that more than 15,000 Puntos would be manufactured this year despite the economic crisis that has hit Fiat too, since production in Serbia is cheaper, and thus the price of cars produced in Kragujevac will be competitive on the market.

Two-day talks are due to begin today in Turin between a Serbian government delegation and Fiat representatives.

“They will discuss Punto production in Kragujevac. We know that will be in March. As for how many will be produced, we’ll see. Certainly five times more than the number of Zastava 10s produced last year, which in figures means something like 15,000,” said Stevanović.

“I think it will be even more than that. It depends on the agreement we have on the Russian and Belarusian side, so it could only be more, and plus you’ve got the export breaks that have been talked about, but that isn’t for me to say. Basically, that’s how I expect it to be,” said the Kragujevac mayor.

Meanwhile, a Serbian delegation has traveled to Turin to meet with Fiat representatives.

The Serbian delegation is being led by Economy Ministry State Secretary Nebojša Ćirić.

According to the ministry, the talks will focus on this year's production plan at Zastava, and Fiat's business plan and investment in Serbia.

The Serbian delegation, which, in addition to Ćirić, includes Zastava Group CEO Zoran Radojević and Zastava Motors Factory Director Zoran Bogdanović, left for Turin yesterday, with Dinkić due to join them on Friday.

Ćirić said that they would ask the Italian manufacturing managers to increase production in the Kragujevac plant to exceed the total number of cars manufactured in the Zastava plant in 2008, and would propose that the manufacturing price of the Punto model be reduced for export to CEFTA countries.

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