Reuters report, General Motors has contracted a deal with Zastava automaker for the production of Opel vehicles. Production will transpire at Zastava?s complex in Kragujevac in central Serbia.
According to the source familiar with the agreement, "They will sign on Thursday. The production of the first Opel Astra vehicles is expected to start in 2008."
Another source familiar with the negotiation has also confirmed the deal. Last year the state-owned Zastava, exporter of Yugi cars to the United States was only able to produce 15,000 cars which is less than its annual capacity of 60,000 vehicles. Zastava also caters to Italy?s Fiat producing the Punto cars.
These Punto cars are marketed in Serbia and the rest of the neighboring Balkan countries under the brand ?Zastava 10?. Zastava was also given by Fiat the authority to distribute the cars on the Russian market.
Reuters has quoted a government source saying, "The deal with General Motors will enable Zastava to work with modern technology, raising its chances of fully benefiting in the coming privatization process."
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said that the Serbian automaker is aiming to produce around 10,000 vehicles by 2010. He also said, "This contract is good for Kragujevac and domestic car industry, because we thus join the trends of technology and business operation of the international automotive industry."
And the latest development on this issue is that the Serbian government has already approved the import of around 8,300 duty-free Opel Astra cars of which 3,300 are to be imported by the end of this year while the remaining 5,000 by 2008. These imported Opel Astra cars will cost 10,800 euros or $14,900 for the basic version which was previously sold at 12,800 euros or $17,700.
Opel Expands Antara Range
Speaking of Opel, it has recently announced the expansion of the engine range of its Antara Sports Utility Vehicle with a diesel version that will come equipped with a particulate filter and an Opel catalytic converter. The two liter motor produces 110kW/150hp and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in a matter of 10.3 seconds.
The fuel consumption is at 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers while carbon dioxide emission level is at 198 grams per kilometer. The integrated Flex-Fix bicycle carrier is currently the optional offering for the Antara. This special feature can be pulled out just like a cupboard and can accommodate two bicycles. It is priced at 650 euros or $900.