The Nikkei newspaper said that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to expand operations in Russia and is teaming up with Russian automaker Sollers to help build Toyota-brand cars in the far east of the country as it extends its reach into the emerging markets.
In December 2010, CEO of Sollers, Vadim Shvetsov, told reporters that a joint venture with Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler's Jeep unit, will make up to 500,000 Fiat and Chrysler vehicles a year in the country.
The newspaper added that Toyota will train personnel and provide parts for a venture owned by Sollers and Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co., which will aim to build 30,000 Toyota-brand vehicles a year.
Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco declined to comment. The Vladivostok factory may assemble one model and Mitsui will transport the cars through the Trans-Siberian Railway to sell them throughout Russia. Since 2007, Toyota has also been producing cars at a unit in St. Petersburg.
The Association of European Businesses (AEB), a private industry body, said automobile sales in Russia are expected to grow 18 percent in 2011 to 2.24 million cars. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's five-year plan entails Fiat to get a seven percent share of a Russian market projected at 3.1 million units in 2014.
The Russia joint venture will build a Fiat compact hatchback and sedan, a large sedan and a subcompact, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler and Compass/Patriot and Cherokee replacements. The Russian venture will also make engines and transmissions. [via autonews - sub. required]