News: German automaker Mercedes-Benz is scheduled to enter into a strategic partnership with Belgrade Serbian company Ikarbus. The partnership will be reached with the help of the Serbian government. Under the deal, Ikarbus will manufacture bus superstructures based on Mercedes' chassis and in association with Mercedes' management. The bus superstructures will not only cater to the Serbian market, but also the third markets.
BMI View: Even by our modest forecast of 1.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) average annual growth between 2013 and 2017, we expect autos production to reach over 28,000 units by the end of our forecast - more than double the levels seen back in 1999. There has been a shift in investments in the automotive production segment away from Western Europe and towards the emerging markets of Eastern and Central Europe. Many markets in emerging Europe are increasingly attractive to auto manufacturers, as economic development facilitates increasing levels of vehicle ownership.