GM Opens St. Petersburg Plant

Even thought most car manufacturers are currently experiencing harsh times due to the global economic crisis, General Motors aims to expand its production capacity to Russia, with a brand new $300 million assembly plant in St. Petersburg. The production will be increased to 170,000 units, GM said in a press statement, with 100,000 units already available through partnerships with the local car manufacturers.

Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva are the first two models to be designed by the St. Petersburg-based plant, with Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan to join this group in late 2009. However, GM says this new production facility is capable of designing several types of vehicles thanks to its flexible and modern technology able to suit a variety of different models.

“We are fully committed to our Russia growth strategy,” said Carl-Peter Forster, President of General Motors Europe. “Russia is poised to become Europe’s Number One car market for GM as early as 2009. With five strong brands on the market, we are the leading non-Russian manufacturer. That’s a position we aim to keep.”

GM had pretty good sales in Russia, with a 44 percent increase in the January – September 2008 period and 256,765 sold units. Chevrolet remains the most popular GM brand in Russia, with 44,000 cars and SUVs while Opel was the fastest growing brand with sales up 73 percent.

“Our St. Petersburg plant will work to the same high standards that have recently resulted in major quality awards for our cars,” said Carl-Peter Forster.

The new St. Petersburg-based plant will employ 1700 people, GM said, all of them undergoing “intensive training in the company’s global manufacturing system which focuses on top quality in all processes, continuous improvement and involvement of the workforce.”
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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