Eugene Gerden


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

Kamaz Cuts Spare Autonomous-Truck Development 
Driving the cutbacks in both investment and production is a 40% decline in year-to-date sales from like-2014.
Russian Auto-Sales Recovery Years Away, Analysts Say
Premium brands’ share of the Moscow and St. Petersburg markets is about 20%, but analysts predict demand will shift over the next few years from Russia’s largest cities to less-populated regions.
Russia’s AvtoVAZ Plans $3 Billion Investment 
Money will be spent to improve manufacturing, increase local content and bring Lada’s Vesta concept to production. Also on tap is a new-gen Chevy Niva with partner GM.
General Motors Shifts Russian Production to Belarus
A government spokesman says besides Opel, GM will add assemblies of premium brands including Cadillac at its Belarusian JV by September. The new models will be sold in Belarus, Russia and possibly other Eastern European states.
Slumping Sales Keep BMW’s Russian Plant on Ice 
Contract assembler Avtotor says BMW still is interested in developing a plant within a larger automotive cluster with annual capacity of 250,000 units by 2019 in the Kaliningrad region.
Audi Sees Upmarket Opening in Besieged Russia Market  1
Audi Russia chief Achim Saurer says the low- and mid-priced segments of the Russian market will bear the brunt of what is projected to be a 30% year-on-year decline in sales this year, creating opportunities for higher-end brands.
Automakers Say Russian Tax Hike Would Add to Pain 
While the tax increase also would apply to importers, the government no longer can afford to raise subsidies for Russian automakers and global manufacturers operating locally at the same rate.
Toyota Anything But Bearish on Russian Market 
In addition to launching RAV4 assembly next year, Toyota plans to increase imports and possibly launch of production of B- and C-segment models targeted mainly at younger Russians.
Russia to Stabilize Ruble, Protect Global Automakers 
The government says it will take fluctuations in the value of the ruble and other currencies into account when determining the percentage of locally sourced components required in foreign automakers’ car-assembly operations.
Volvo Standing Up to Russian Economic Headwinds
First-quarter deliveries slumped 39.2% from year-ago, but the automaker predicts full-year sales will fall no more than 30%, revived by a broadened product lineup led by the all-new XC90 CUV.
Ford Boosting Russian Investment Despite Sales Skid 
Ford’s current level of localization in Russia is estimated at 40%, and the automaker says it intends to raise that share to 83%-85% by 2019. That is significantly higher than the 60% target stipulated in an agreement with the government.
Daimler Moving Closer to New Plant in Russia 
Construction is targeted to begin by the end of the year and be completed by the end of 2016. The plant is expected to reach capacity by 2017. Planned production volumes and location of the operation have not been disclosed.
Russian Official: GM Hit Hardest By Falling Ruble 
Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov says GM’s relatively low 25% level of localization of sourcing, manufacturing activity and R&D hurt the automaker when the value of the ruble began sinking.
Russian Government Cuts Automakers’ Wish List Short 
Automakers support the government subsidies but also want regulations on assembly operations eased, support for new agreements with foreign manufacturers, resumption of preferential auto lending and limits on steel exports.
Ford Deploys New Models in Battle for Russia Market 
Government analysts note while the automaker’s updating of its local product range is overdue, they do not expect the new Focus and Mondeo to significantly increase sales in the short or middle term.
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