VIENNA – A second shift is under way this week at the OOO Volkswagen Group Rus plant in Kaluga, Russia, which assembles the Skoda Fabia and Octavia and VW Polo sedan and Tiguan cross/utility vehicle from complete-knocked-down kits.

Both Skoda cars and the VW Tiguan are classic CKD assembly operation using kits sourced from the Czech Republic and Germany, while the Polo sedan has a significantly higher local content. India is the only other production source for the Polo sedan, where it is badged as the VW Vento.

Polo parts sourced locally include body stampings, produced at the new OOO Gestamp-Severstal-Kaluga plant, a joint venture between Russian steel maker OAO Severstal and Spanish supplier Gestamp Automoción S.L. The JV is located in the Grabtsevo industrial zone near the VW plant.

CKD assembly of the VW Passat also is under consideration for the Kaluga plant, which has capacity for 150,000 vehicles a year.

Kaluga used to assemble several VW, Skoda and Audi models from semi-knocked-down kits.

However, the contract with the Russian government, which granted incentives for SKD assembly in Kaluga, expired earlier this month. As a result, the plant will focus on the SKD assembly of only two models – the VW Multivan and Touareg – but under higher customs tariffs.

Meanwhile, ZAO GM-AvtoVAZ reintroduced its second shift under a plan announced in July. The auto maker had dropped the shift in February 2009, as a result of the global economic slump.