“Awareness of Environmental Sustainability is Increasing, Even in the Auto Industry” at the Kopaonik Business Forum on the Role of Our Region in the Transformation and Electrification of the Auto Market

The fourteenth panel at this year's Kopaonik Business Forum, titled "The Role of the Region in the Transformation of the Automotive Industry," brought together key players in the domestic auto market who concluded that in Serbia, there is growing interest in electric vehicles, but the entire transition to e-mobility involves a significant number of risks and unknowns that still need to be addressed.

The participants in this panel at the Kopaonik Business Forum were:

  • Ostoja Mijailović, President of OMR Group
  • Milan Grujić, Managing Director, ZF Serbia
  • Petar Jovanović, President of the Executive Board of AIK Bank
  • Nenad Zdravković, Member of the Supervisory Board of Milšped Group

The panel moderator was Marko Čadež, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, who, in introducing the panel, emphasized that everyone understands the necessity of embarking on the path of e-mobility, but the crucial question now is how to implement it.

Marko Čadež
Marko Čadež

Ostoja Mijailović,

President of OMR Group, stated that what an e-automobile demands and presupposes and what a conventional automobile demands are entirely two different things.

“This is a completely different logic for both manufacturers and users. As a company, we will introduce around 6 brands this year, but again, it is a statistical error how many e-automobiles we will import this year,” he noted, adding that the fact remains that interest in electric vehicles is growing, and customers are interested.

“The awareness of environmental sustainability is increasing, and this is also the case in the automotive industry. At the same time, potential buyers of electric vehicles have many uncertainties,” he said.

Ostoja Mijailovic
Ostoja Mijailovic

He emphasized that the primary goal of OMR Group and its affiliated companies is to meet all the needs of electric vehicle drivers and to provide a complete service in one place.

“At the same time, we invest resources in continuous market education to provide users with all the timely information. With our partner Stellantis, through the import and distribution of Fiat, Fiat Professional, and Jeep, which will have the most electric car models, we will offer our customers all the answers,” said Mijailović.


Mijailović noted during the panel that “green” also carries many risks.

“The key question is the question of financing. Our company is working on a ready-made solution. Several pieces of data we have acquired: In Germany, after 4 years of using an e-automobile, that vehicle has no further market. This means that you lose 25% of its value annually,” Mijailović pointed out, commenting, “How will this look from the perspective of insurance?”

Milan Grujić, Managing Director of ZF Serbia, shared

that there are three most important stakeholders: the regulatory-legal framework, society, and the industry. “What we notice is that last year, we had one country that was leading in all of this, China. There, every third car was electric last year. In the EU, that percentage is around 16%,” said Grujić in his presentation.

Milan Grujić
Milan Grujić

Responding to the moderator’s question about what can be expected regarding the workforce in the industry and the transformation from internal combustion engines to electric motors, Grujić mentioned that their company already produces modern electric motors in Serbia.

“So, it is possible. What will help in the future is the model of dual education, as well as adapting teaching programs and curricula. That is what is necessary, but it is also very important to supply energy from renewable sources,” he added.

Nenad Zdravković, a member of the supervisory board of Milšped Group, highlighted

that there is a complete difference between the passenger and commercial sectors regarding this issue. For example, a passenger car is used for about 3 hours a day on average. The situation is completely different with commercial vehicles,” said Nenad Zdravković, noting that they are used much more, and that lies the problem.

Nenad Zdravković
Nenad Zdravković

Milšped Group sees the future of this sector in transport segmentation.

“As before, the railway will become the key transport to a specific location, and then trucks will take over the cargo within a radius of 500 kilometers, and finally, the cargo will be handed over to smaller vehicles,” he stated, adding that this requires significant investment and planning.

Petar Jovanović, President of the Executive Board of AIK Bank, emphasized that electric cars need to be made more accessible to customers.

“Banks, through their innovative products, can offer both credit and leasing products that should have a component of more favorable financing. Due to their green agenda, banks must invest a portion of their portfolio in green projects, and e-mobility is precisely part of that story. From our perspective, we need to work on making these vehicles more accessible to customers,” noted Petar Jovanović.

Petar Jovanović
Petar Jovanović

In response to Marko Čadež’s question, whether there are enough projects that are essential support and the basis of e-mobility, Jovanović points out that the risk is quite high, but he agrees that banks must also participate in that part of the work.

– Absolute support in infrastructure construction is crucial. To own an electric car you need to know when, how and where to charge it. Banks should participate in these projects together with partners, he concluded.

Source: Blic