Eugene Gerden

Eugene
Gerden
Correspondent,
WardsAuto

Eugene Gerden writes about the Russian auto industry from his base in St. Petersburg.

Articles
Russian Roadblock for New-Gen Chevrolet Niva Lifted
GM-AvtoVAZ displayed a new Niva concept at the 2014 Moscow auto show. But Russia’s financial crisis, marked by the ruble’s falling value and the effects of Western economic sanctions, prompted the JV to indefinitely suspend the project.
Automakers Resist Russian Emergency-Alert Mandate
Domestic and foreign automakers operating in Russia also will be required to install the analogous European eCall system in their cars starting in March 2018.
Utilities Defy Russian Auto Market’s Sales Futility
In 2004, SUVs and CUVs accounted for only 12% of the Russian market, but their share has more than tripled since then to 38%. Analysts predict the segment’s share soon will reach 40% and not fall below that mark for the next five years.
Russia to Ask Global Automakers to Step Up Local R&D
Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov says Russia plans to pattern its strategy after that of India, where European and U.S. automakers have opened more than 30 R&D centers.
More Foreign Automakers May Join Russian Exodus
Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov says some global automakers may follow General Motors and Ssangyong and abandon Russia after their agreements to assemble vehicles in the country expire in 2017-2018.
Putin Subsidy Plan Plays Favorites
Russian automakers are expected to benefit most from the new prioritization of state subsidies, as will global companies that recently have signed agreements committing to higher levels of localized assembly and production capacity.
GM Looks to Grow Successful Uzbekistan Joint Venture
A GM Uzbekistan executive says the JV will pay particular attention to manufacturing SUVs and large urban sedans, but it also is devoting resources to producing a new version of the Chevrolet Aveo compact.
BMW May Boost Russian Output in Face of Sales Slide
Longtime contract assembler Avtotor is launching a new automotive cluster in the Kaliningrad region with initial capacity of 100,000 cars and some may be BMW models.
Russian Import-Sales Drop Seen Accelerating
Import sales could drop 20%-30% this year compared with 10%-15% industrywide, leaving imports with about a 15% share of the Russian market.
Putin Associate Engineers CEO’s Exit From AvtoVAZ
Sources say CEO Bo Andersson fell out of favor with Sergey Chemezov, whose company controls one-third of the automaker, because he favored foreign parts makers over local producers with suspected links to organized crime.
Russian Auto Dealersʼ Fortunes Sink Alongside Sales
Russian Association of Auto Dealers President Vladimir Mozhenkov says the existing dealer network is designed to sell at least 3 million cars per year. Light-vehicle sales in 2015 totaled just 1.6 million units, down 35.7% from prior-year, WardsAuto data shows.
FCA to Infuse New Life Into Anemic Russian Sales
The reorganization plan includes terminating Jeep Compass sales. The automaker delivered only 72 units in Russia last year, down 89.7% from like-2014. The CUV was hurt by a 30% price increase prompted by the tumbling value of the ruble.
Smaller Cars Taking Bigger Piece of Russian Market
About 600,000 B-cars were sold last year in Russia and their market share, currently at 40%, is expected to grow. Among last year’s best-selling models were the Lada Granta built by local automaker AvtoVAZ, the Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio.
GM-AvtoVAZ JV Retooling Togliatti Assembly Complex
Shifts at Togliatti will be reduced from two to one while retaining a 5-day workweek, and reorganization of jobs will allow production-line speed to be doubled. There are no plans for layoffs; the plant will continue to employ about 1,400 people.
Russia Eases Global Automakersʼ Localization Rules
The deterioration of the market has forced the government to grant additional concessions to global automakers threatening to freeze further investment in Russian production or even quit the market, as occurred last year with General Motors.
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