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Renault, VW, Stellantis, others potentially exposed to sanctions on Russia

Renault, VW, Stellantis potentially exposed to sanctions on Russia
Written by Publishing team

Renault Group might have the largest stake in Russia, but several other European automakers operate assembly factories in the country and record significant sales there, led by VW Group and Stellantis, both with factories in Kaluga.

Kaluga, about 112 miles southwest of Moscow, has become a center of the Russian auto industry. Prominent suppliers in the area include Continental, Magna International and Visteon.

VW Group’s plant there builds the VW Tiguan crossover and Polo small car, as well as the Skoda Rapid compact sedan. It also builds engines and assembles Audi Q7 and Q8 crossovers from semi-knockdown kits. Total production in 2021 was 118,000 vehicles; engine capacity is 150,000 units a year.

The automaker also has an assembly agreement with GAZ to build VW and Skoda models at the contract manufacturer’s factory in Nizhny Novgorod.

VW says it has invested more than $1.1 billion in the Kaluga plant, which opened in 2007, and more than $2.3 billion overall in its Russia operations.

Stellantis operates a factory in Kaluga in a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors. Just last month Stellantis announced it would begin exporting vans built at the factory to Europe.

The plant began building vans in 2017 for the former PSA Group, which merged with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2021 to form Stellantis. The factory currently assembles vans for Peugeot, Citroen and Opel.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and have no further comment at this stage,” a Stellantis corporate spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe on Tuesday.

Other European automakers with interests in Russia include:

  • Mercedes-Benz, which invested more than 250 million euros to build a factory northwest of Moscow that builds the E-Class sedan and SUV models. The factory, which has more than 1,000 workers, opened in April 2019.
  • BMW has had semi-knockdown kits assembled at a factory run by Russia’s Avtotor in Kaliningrad since 1999. Plans for a full assembly factory were scrapped in 2020.
  • Ford Motor, which was the first international automaker to launch vehicle assembly in Russia, opening a factory in St. Petersburg in 2002, exited the Russian passenger car market in 2019 as part of a larger retrenchment. Ford also closed its two vehicle factories and an engine assembly plant. It continues to assemble vans with a Russian partner, Sollers, in Elabuga.

“We are very concerned about the recent developments and hope that further escalation can be prevented,” a Mercedes spokeswoman said in an email to DONKEY. “As a matter of course, we also take into account applicable sanctions in our business activities with Russia.”

BMW and Ford did not immediately respond to request for comment on Tuesday, but BMW told the Associated Press last week that “politics sets out the rules within which we operate as a company” and that “if the framework conditions change, we will evaluate them and decide how to deal with them.”

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