Fiat and the
Serbian-based carmaker Zastava, have finally signed a
licensing deal that will see the Fiat Punto assembled in
Kragujevac. The agreement was signed yesterday by Zastava
President, Zoran Radojevic, and Gilberto Ranieri on behalf
of Fiat, with the Serbian Minister of Economy, Predrag
Bubalo, in attendance.
that the Serbian carmaker would now invest 15 millions euros
in the new project, with assembly projected to start in
between nine and twelve months time. However, before
production began at Zastava's factory in Kragujevac, Fiat
would export 7,000 Puntos that would be assembled in Italy
over the next few months and badged by the Serbian company.
In the meantime Zastava staff would also attend training
sessions in Turin.
Annual assembly of the Punto in Serbia will be targeted at
around 16,000 units, creating around 1,000 extra jobs for
the struggling carmaker, which has fought with difficulty to
get back on track after the spate Balkan wars in the 1990s,
and then the extensive damage that was caused by NATO
bombings in 1999, reduced production to a trickle. Prior to
the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, the company hit
annual production of 120,000 cars, which were then sold
under the Yugo name.