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.
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.
The automaker is adding the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe to a production schedule comprising a third SUV, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, and the Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze. St. Petersburg gets the Opel Mokka in 2016.
Mercedes parent Daimler reportedly continues searching for a local production partner. That would allow the automaker to sidestep the Russian government’s recent ban on state purchases of imported cars.
One analysis suggests limited capacity, possible loss of government support, devaluation of the ruble and other factors may prompt global automakers to halt assembly operations in Russia and instead focus on imports.
Industry analysts say Daimler is in dire need of a local production base, given the government’s recent decision to ban the purchase by state bodies and agencies of any cars produced outside the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
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