Are Japanese to Produce Electric Vehicles in Serbia and Is This a Way of Sneaking Lithium Back In?

Source: Demostat Friday, 13.05.2022. 11:14
(Photo: Nataliya Hora/
At the moment, the Government of Serbia is having intensive negotiations with the heads of a large Japanese automotive company about the construction of their production facility in Serbia, Demostat learns from well-informed sources.

To the Japanese partner, the authorities in Serbia are offering to build a factory in Indjija as one of the potential locations. If the company, which is showing an interest in the project, accepted that, a facility for the production of electric cars would most probably be opened – says the interviewee of Demostat.

To remind, the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, stated at the end of April that “Serbia negotiates with two fantastic car producers”. Following that, there were speculations in the media that one of them could be the German Volkswagen.

As the media wrote, the authorities in Indjija were already preparing 800 hectares of land that was meant for this automotive company. At the session of the Municipal Assembly of Indjija, held on April 11, the amendments to the Spatial Plan of the municipality were supposed to be voted on, but the proposition was withdrawn at the request of the propositioning party. The president of the Municipality of Indjija, Vladimir Gak, explained that the withdrawal of the proposition happened due to the request of the potential investor for detailed information to be included in the Spatial Plan. According to what was written in the letter of intent, the potential investor should invest a billion euros, due to which, as the media wrote, agricultural land in that municipality will be turned into construction land.

That Volkswagen was not the big car company interested in opening its factory in Indjija was revealed by Politika, citing sources from the German company with the seat in Wolfsburg, which claimed that it was not interested in launching the production of vehicles in Serbia.

As the source of Demostat claims, on the other hand, the authorities in Serbia are negotiating with a large Japanese automotive company, and the potential investment, they say, “largely depends on whether lithium will be exploited in our country, but also on the foreign policy orientation of the Government of Serbia in the upcoming period”.

– What motivates automotive companies to open factories for the production of electric vehicles in a country is the availability of the raw materials for batteries, but also subsidies, such as the ones that the Italian Fiat receives in Kragujevac – claims the interviewee of Demostat.

According to him, in case there is exploitation of lithium in Serbia after all, regardless of the fact that, at the moment, the cooperation with the British-Australian company Rio Tinto has been fully terminated in that respect, the government will give priority in the procurement of that raw material to those who are ready to invest in processing facilities. The goal is not for lithium to leave Serbia as a raw material, but as a product, such as, for example, a battery for an electric car or vehicle – the interviewee says and adds that the interest of geopolitical competitors of the western countries, primarily China, in opening production facilities in Serbia, should not be forgotten either.

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