Eugene Gerden


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

Limos Lead New Single-Platform Russian Luxury Lineup
NAMI director Maxim Nagaitsev says the limousine to be built for President Vladimir Putin will be the world’s largest passenger vehicle.
Ford Cuts Russian Output as Sales Retreat Continues
Annual production capacity at Vsevolozhsk is 160,000 units, but Ford built just 30,000 cars there in 2014, laying off 700 employees as a consequence. Output for full-year 2015 is estimated at only 15,000 units.
Russian Auto Industry Subsidies Upped for 2016 
A spokesman for Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister says most of the new subsidies will compensate local automakers for interest rates on bank loans and for losses resulting from currency fluctuations.
Hyundai Plans to Inject $100 Million Into Russian Operations
Despite the difficult market conditions, Hyundai Russia’s plant has been operating five days a week on three shifts, without any production interruption or staff cuts.
Ford Russia Wins Tax Break With Sales on Upswing 
A spokesman says Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov endorses the tax break, as the automaker has suffered from the devaluation of the Russian ruble and an increase in the key rate of the Russian Central Bank.
Russian Auto Jobs Drying Up Alongside Production 
According to automotive analysts ASM-Holding, employment in the Russian auto industry has declined 10.5% since May 2014, from 205,134 to 183,534 workers, and a new wave of layoffs may take place by the end of the year.
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.

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