General Motors has announced plans for a $1 billion-plus expansion of its automotive production plant in St. Petersburg, Russia. The five-year project will reportedly boost production from 98,000 annually all the way up to 230,000. Ground on the project was reportedly broken today.
‘A new era in Russia’
As many as 4,000 additional jobs will be filled once expansion is complete at GM’s St. Petersburg plant, a product of an agreement between the automaker and the Russian Federal Ministry of Economic Development. GM CEO Dan Akerson was visiting Russia today for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“General Motors is embarking on a new era in Russia, one of the world’s fastest-growing vehicle markets, as part of our strategy to build where we sell,” Akerson said to a forum audience. “The global vehicles that we produce and the manufacturing systems that we are putting in place are creating long-term benefits for Russia’s automotive industry, its supply base and its economy.”
Reports indicate that General Motors will produce Chevrolet and Opel vehicles at the Russian plant, including the Opel Astra sedan. This would enable GM to continue to maintain its place amongst the rest of the global contingent that sell vehicles in Russia. Approximately 1.14 million foreign vehicles sold in Russia in the first five months of 2012, a 15 percent increase over the same period in 2011. General Motors sold nearly 75,000 Chevrolets in Russia over the most recent span, an 18 percent increase over the previous year. At the same time, GM, also sold 32,190 Opels, a 34 percent increase. In total GM was the third most popular brand in the country over the first five months of 2012, behind Lada and Renault.
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