The management of the Stellantis Company, under which all Fiat Chrysler plants worldwide have been operating since the beginning of the year, has informed the Serbian government that the decision on whether and when the Fiat factory in Kragujevac will start production of a new car model will be made known in the coming months.
Should the company decide to leave Kragujevac, the Serbian government does have a plan “B”. In that case, the government would buy its share from the joint-stock company Fiat and then sell the entire factory to another carmaker. So far, almost EUR 1.5 billion has been invested in the Fiat plant in Kragujevac.
Volkswagen is mentioned as a possible buyer, as it had announced in recent years that it was planning to build a new plant in the Balkans. In mid-2019, the Germans, having to choose between Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Turkey, had opted for the latter country to open a new factory, but less than a year and a half ago, for political reasons, they decided to put that decision ‘on ice’, after which Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria re-entered the race as possible factory locations.
The Kragujevac car factory could also be offered to a Chinese manufacturer, which for years had been running ‘Zastava’ until the arrival of Fiat. There are also Japanese and South Korean companies who are also interested in forging a strategic partnership with the Serbian government.
The European Union would most likely put pressure on Serbia to prevent the sale of the Kragujevac car factory to the Chinese, but the pressure, according to insiders, could be useless since Stellantis itself would be responsible for a situation which would leave several thousand families without work and livelihood.
This post is also available in: Italiano