Eugene Gerden


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

Struggling Audi Russia Reshuffles Top Management
Audi Russia’s sales for the first eight months of 2015 totaled 16,359 cars, down 29.4% year-on-year, WardsAuto data shows. Deliveries by rival luxury automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz fell 21.1% and 8.6%, respectively, in the period.
GM Begins Paying Price of Withdrawal From Russia 
GM estimates the overall cost of closing its Russian business at $600 million, with a significant portion earmarked for reimbursing former dealers for their investments. But some dealers have filed lawsuits claiming the compensation is inadequate.
No Free Site for Daimler Plant, St. Petersburg Says 
“We have great respect for Daimler and we hope that it will build its plant in the territory of St. Petersburg,” city official Maxim Meyskin says. “However, the project should not be implemented at any price, which is our fundamental position.”
VW Looks to Exports to Shore Up Russian Operation 
Volkswagen has commissioned Nemak, one of its global parts suppliers, to manufacture cylinder blocks and cylinder-head components at its Ulyanovsk plant for export mainly to European Union markets.
Imports Not Immune From Russian Auto Industry Slump 
Although imports comprise about 20% of the Russian market, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov believes global automakers have chosen to focus on local output as the country’s economic crisis, aggravated by Western sanctions, continues.
GM’s Russian JV Takes New-Gen Chevy Niva Off Shelf 
Despite GM’s shutdown of Chevrolet and Opel assembly and sales operations in Russia, and limiting its imports to Cadillac and a handful of Chevy products, the Niva is one of the country’s best-selling CUVs.
Global Automakers Win More Concessions From Russia 
The Russian government will revise its formula for determining the level of localization of auto production. Foreign automakers will be given up to three years to comply with the amended requirements.
Ford Fights Russia Slump on Product, Price Fronts 
The automaker is cutting prices and expanding its product range in an effort to pull out of a tailspin that saw July sales drop 21.3% from like-2014 and 52% for the year’s first seven months, according to WardsAuto data.
Daimler Attaches Strings to Proposed Russia Plant 
Sources say Daimler has asked St. Petersburg Gov. Georgy Poltavchenko to provide a 125-acre site for the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant, along with associated infrastructure investment, without compensation from the automaker.
Defying Weak Market, BMW Adding Russian Dealerships 
Unlike other automakers that have scaled back or even halted production to reduce inventories of unsold vehicles, BMW is moving to expand its current network of 65 dealerships in 41 Russian cities.
GM, Former Russian Dealers in Contentious Talks 1
Despite the current difficulties, negotiations are expected to continue. Legal action by the dealers likely would result in the termination of service contracts by GM, potentially exposing bigger retailers with large customer bases to further losses.
Russian Government Sweetens Automaker Subsidy Pot
Most of the new funding will be used to compensate local and global automakers for discounts given dealers in a market where, according to WardsAuto data, sales fell 29.7% year-on-year in June and were off 36.4% through the first half of the year.
Luxury-Car Sales Numbers Small But on Rise in Russia 
Sales have jumped in part because most luxury automakers and their dealers have refused to raise prices while also offering additional benefits and incentives for customers.
Suppliers Battered By Russian Auto-Industry Slump  1
The decision by Faurecia, which manufactures components such as seats, interiors and exhaust systems, to partially suspend operations may disrupt Russian production by major automakers including PSA Peugeot Citroen and Ford.
Ailing Russia Market Not Sidetracking VW Investment 
VW recently launched production of both 1.6L engines and its new-generation Polo sedan at its Kaluga plant, joining new versions of the Touareg CUV and Jetta sedan being built at the facility.
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