GM to open $300 million assembly plant in Russia this week

  • GM pushes ahead with flexible assembly plant in Shushary near St. Petersburg
  • Capacity for 70,000 Opel and Chevrolet cars and SUVs
  • GM Number One foreign car-maker in Russia with 11% market share

Zurich. This week General Motors (GM) will open a $300 million, flexible assembly plant in St. Petersburg, Russia. The plant will add 70,000 units of capacity to more than 100,000 already available to GM at joint venture and partner facilities in the country. It will build the Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva SUVs and, as of late 2009, the all-new Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan. The plant features a flexible, modern design that can accommodate a variety of different models.

“We are fully committed to our Russia growth strategy,” said Carl-Peter Forster, President of General Motors Europe. “Russia is poised to become Europe’s Number One car market for GM as early as 2009. With five strong brands on the market, we are the leading non-Russian manufacturer. That’s a position we aim to keep.”

GM grew sales in Russia by 44% in Jan-Sept 2008, outpacing industry growth of 23% and reaching a record total of 256,765. GM’s market share has reached a new high of 10.9% in Russia from 6.5% as recently as 2006. In the first nine months of the year, Chevrolet maintained its position as Russia’s favorite non-domestic brand with sales up 33.5% (or 44,000 cars and SUVs) to a total of 175,800. In the same period, Opel was the fastest growing brand in the country with sales up 73% to over 78,000.

“Our St. Petersburg plant will work to the same high standards that have recently resulted in major quality awards for our cars,” said Carl-Peter Forster. The new plant, located in Shushary on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, will employ 1700 people. GM’s new employees have undergone intensive training in the company’s global manufacturing system which focuses on top quality in all processes, continuous improvement and involvement of the workforce.

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