By Rina Mihajlovic
Novi Sad, July 15 (Serbia Today) -The production of “Punto” diesel started this month in Kragujevac at “Zastava Auto” factory. More than a thousand workers are working in production of Punto cars. Most of the parts are being delivered from Italy by train, and workers are scheduled in two shifts, due to a large amount of production.
Giueseppe Zaccaria, spokesman of “Fiat-Cars Serbia” said that he is particularly satisfied with the production which reached one hundred cars per day, which was their initial goal based on the market demand.
Fiat also has its people here controlling the quality of each car unit and helping the workers master the technology. Fiat is in the final phase of clearing old “Zastava” production halls so that they can install the most modern technology in car production by the end of this year.
If everything goes according to the plan the factory in Kragujevac will take on technological supremacy from the “Fiat” factory in Poland. Model “Fiat 500” is being produced in Poland right now.
Minister of Economy and Regional development Mladjan Dinkic said that within two next months the annex to contract with Italians will be signed for manufacturing a new car model. It is not decided yet whether it will be a new model A or B class but whichever one they choose, its trial production will start at the end of next year. We are talking about two new models that have been designed and one of them is a small city vehicle, technically sophisticated and mainly for the sale in the EU market.
If Fiat decides to manufacture Class A in Kragujevac it would mean manufacturing 250.000 cars annually plus 50.000 of Punto diesel. But if they choose class B then it would mean 140.000 cars per year.
Minister Dinkic also said that the production of Punto on gas will begin in September. The Managers of Fiat will soon inform us on a further plan of production of Fiat Punto diesel that will be manufactured in two versions, one called Dynamic the other Emotion. They will also present the investment information concerning additional gear needed for those two models. Minister Dinkic said that the investment by Fiat and Serbia in this factory will be around 700 million euro.
Zastava is a Serbian brand but up to now the sales of Punto manufactured in Kragujevac topped 350million dinars. The total of 5000 cars was sold even before the production has started. Dinkic said that the production of Punto cars may be raised due to large demand and be sold according to a system “old for new”. The production is heavy and the workers will be awarded with a bonus that equals an average salary of 30.000dinars, and they will receive it in three equal monthly installments.
Director of the “Fiat-Cars Serbia” said that it is not known how much money will be invested in the future but that hiring people and installing new equipment is already a huge investment.