Talks are ongoing between Fiat S.p.A. and several Russian automakers about expanding in Russia, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne who spoke with Autonews. Last Monday, Marchionne said that the company is “committed to the Russian market.” Marchionne declined to name a possible partner for Fiat in Russia.
He said that the company is determining the optimal way to get it done “in terms of timing, in terms of cost.” He estimates that they have until April to finalize.
In February, Russian carmaker Sollers suddenly withdrew from a joint venture plan with Fiat in favor of Ford Motor Co. Competitors such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG have also been hurrying to build ties with Russian partners.
Marchionne refers to Europe as a "stagnant market” but Russia is expected by a Boston Consulting Group study to be the sixth-largest global auto market by 2020. This is a huge jump from its current position at No. 10.
The study, which came out last month, also said that Russia will pass Germany by 2018 as the largest producer of cars and light commercial vehicles in Europe. The Moscow-based Association of European Businesses said that in January, Fiat sold 788 vehicles in Russia, up from 640 in January 2010 -- making Fiat the 27th topselling brand in the country.