Serbian factories in running to produce parts for Toyota cars

Serbian Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic said today that Japan’s auto manufacturer Toyota, the world’s second largest, is considering the possibility of producing parts for its cars in Serbia, which would be then used by Toyota factories in Russia and the Czech Republic.

In a statement to the press following his meeting with Toyota representatives, Dinkic said Toyota will need approximately 5,000 suppliers, and the Sombor-based accumulator factory, Krusevac-based Trayal and Tigar from Pirot stand the best chances of becoming a part of Toyota’s supply chain.

He said Toyota is building a Russian factory that will start assembling cars in 2007, and as of 2010, it is expected to produce 200,000 cars annually.

According to Dinkic, the latest analysis conducted by the Toyota Institute for International Economics Studies showed that there are factories in Serbia with capacities for producing parts for Toyota automobiles.

He said that Yoshimasa Ishii, Chief Coordinating Executive for Toyota’s European and African Division, confirmed that Serbia is now included in their strategic plans. The possibility to include Serbian companies in this arrangement will be seriously considered, Ishii added, and Dinkic stressed the importance of such cooperation since the manufacturer Suzuki has already asked some Serbian manufacturers to propose deals.

In the European market, Toyota sales currently stand at one million automobiles a year, and the company plans to increase that figure to 1.2 million in 2006, said Dinkic.

Toyota’s interest in Serbia came about partly because of the free trade agreement with Russia and its preferential status with EU member countries.

At today’s investment conference in Nagoya, representatives of the Kawasaki conglomerate also expressed interest in purchasing Serbian made parts for the airplane industry, which opens further possibilities for cooperation, Dinkic concluded.