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The investment in the automotive sector of Serbia in the last year amounts to 790 million euros

Despite the crisis in the automotive sector, Serbia is the most sought after country in the region for investments by foreign automotive companies, according to a report by See News, published at an online conference on automotive industry development “SEE Automotive – Connect & Supply”.

The conference organized by the Automotive Cluster of Serbia, with the support of the project Private Sector Development in Serbia (PSD), which, within the German-Serbian development cooperation, was implemented by the GIZ.

14 representatives of the automotive industry spoke on the topic of the impact of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus and future trends.

“The sixth conference “SEE Automotive – Connect & Supply” this year gathered more than 200 participants, to discuss the state of the automotive industry,” said Igor Vijatov from the Automotive Cluster of Serbia.

The crisis will delay the development of self-driving cars until 2035

During the COVID-19 virus epidemic, most companies in the automotive industry stopped production and turned to donations and the production of the necessary materials to fight the virus. SeeNews estimates show that the crisis in the automotive sector alone could affect two per cent of the total labour force in the national economies of Southeast Europe, and losses across the region could be more than eight billion euros. “However, there is optimism, especially when it comes to Serbia. Serbia is obviously the most desirable destination in the region for investments by foreign car companies. From March 2019 to March 2020, the investment in the automotive sector of Serbia amounts to 790 million euros and there is no data that there will be changes in these investment plans due to the crisis,” said Lilia Goranova from See News.

Analyzes show that the automotive sector will be on the losing end in the midst of the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused, and the recovery depends on measures taken by governments. The economic future and development of Serbia also depend on the global situation in the automotive industry.

“This industry is currently facing many challenges, such as the closure of production facilities and the interruption of the global supply chain, which threatens the economic development of Serbia, which has an annual turnover of three billion euros in the automotive industry. Part of our support is dedicated to the Automotive Cluster in Serbia, whose one of the main goals is the digitalization of the automotive industry,” said Aleksandar Bec from GIZ sector for Sustainable economic development and employment.

Continuous support for the development of the automotive industry in Serbia is provided by the German-Serbian development cooperation, which is implemented by GIZ through various projects, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of this cooperation. “When the COVID-19 virus pandemic began, we discussed with our partners from Serbia which approach to take in the current situation, in order to define measures that will mitigate the effects of the crisis. Together with the Center for Digital Transformation within the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, we have developed a program to support business in an emergency situation for MSMEs. The program offers two days of free support for digital transformation consultants for companies from all industries, for which 120 companies applied in the first few days,” Bec added.

Globally, one of the impacts of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus will be a lack of investment in innovation within the automotive industry. “The crisis will delay the development of self-driving cars until 2035, and it may even never happen,” said Jay Nagle, a research and development specialist in the UK Department of International Trade. However, he added that the good news is that work on electric car development projects for 2021/2022 will continue since the need for electric cars will not cease, which are positive consequences of the pandemic, which itself has contributed to air quality.

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