General Motors to invest $1 billion in Russia within 5 years

Article by Christian A., on August 30, 2012

General Motors’ head of international operations Tim Lee confirmed plans for a $1 billion investment over the next five years to increase the production in Russia of cars as well as components. Lee said that the market in Russia has one of the fastest growths in the world. Lee said that GM will increase its production capacity in Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and Togliatti.

It also aims to boost its sourcing of components locally. In Russia last year, car sales had increased by 40% to 2.5 million, reversing losses experienced after the credit crunch, with foreign brands built in Russia going up by 70% to exceed 1 million. The pace of growth has slowed down but it is still in double digits. Foreign carmakers like GM, which is No. 2 in Russia in terms of auto sales, want to increase production.

GM began its expansion project last June of the factory in St. Petersburg, where it aims to more than double production to 230,000 vehicles annually. The plant produces the Chevrolet Cruze sedan and the Opel Astra hatchback.

Part of the expansion includes the boost in Astra sedan production. Furthermore, Lee said that GM will increase the output of the budget Chevrolet Niva sport utility vehicle, which is a joint venture with Russia's AvtoVaz. The Niva production would increase to 120,000 from 70,000, raising the total production of GM brands in Russia to 350,000 vehicles each year.

Latest Opel Astra created its own version of the brand’s award-winning design vocabulary of bringing together “sculptural artistry with German precision" which was first seen in the Insignia. Opel Astra brings this version into the compact class. Its sturdy silhouette resembles that of a coupé and its sophisticated details give the automobile a cool sporty look. The conventional hatchback design was given a visual twist through its elegant parts which offer a sturdy, cab-forward silhouette. Its abruptly-raked windshield and falling rear roofline add to its aesthetics.

Vice President of Design of General Motors Europe, Mark Adams said that each Opel model should have its own bold characteristics. Hence, the design cues in the Insignia, such as the blade and the wing, which enhance the shapes in the latest Opel model.

The flank of the Opel Astra receives a dynamic inverted blade that visually connects to the powerful movement of the rear window and the C-pillar. Opel Astra’s flank has been given an active inverted blade which is attached to the C-pillar and the robust motion of its rear window. Opel Astra is easily recognized because of its double wing-shapes in each of the rear lights.

The interior reflects the fluid forms of the frame. The car’s curvaceous shapes, wide lines and the execution quality form part of Opel's design vocabulary. The wraparound wing-shape of the panel arching over the moldings of the door is its distinct design cue. These features create a warm ambience for the passengers. The mood is enhanced at night by the subtle red light that light up the center stack base and the panels of the front door.

Topics: gm, russia, investment

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