Daimler AG and GAZ, the Russian commercial vehicle maker, recently signed a memorandum of understanding in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in Russia.
There are also plans to locally produce transmissions, engines, axles, and other components, which will then be used in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and in the GAZ product portfolio.
GAZ and Mercedes-Benz Vans, pending positive findings of a technical feasibility study, will start preparing the Nizhny Novgorod production location in 2011 for the joint production of vehicles and components.
This entails modification of the existing light commercial vehicles production facilities at the site, training GAZ employees for their new tasks and bringing new facilities to Russia. After production is launched, it is anticipated that about 25,000 Sprinter units will roll off the assembly line in Russia in a typical year.
Daimler will organize sales and servicing of the vehicles through the current Mercedes-Benz dealership network, with the support of selected GAZ dealerships.
During the project's official presentation, Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said that Russia has great opportunities for growth. Zetsche added that the GAZ partnership emphasizes the fact that Daimler has come to stay and to achieve further growth.