Toyota planning to expand its operations in Russia, teams up with Sollers

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 11, 2011

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]

Topics: toyota, russia

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