"This is our first project with GAZ. We were in talks for quite a long time," stated Sergei Lepnukhov, spokesman for GM in Russia, adding that other models are expected in the future, according to a recent Yahoo News article.
Under the agreement, GAZ will make about 30,000 Aveo sedans and hatchbacks, starting in mid-2012. GAZ, a company most famous for its Soviet-era Volga sedan, said the partnership with GM should help it improve the quality of its own products. GM has long been associated with Russia’s struggling giant AvtoVAZ, and currently makes the Chevrolet Niva sports utility vehicle in the country. The US carmaker also has its own, independent plant near Saint Petersburg.
"The cooperation with GM will strengthen quality and technology of every production capacity of GAZ," Bo Andersson, president and chief executive of GAZ Group, said in the joint statement. He also added this will not affect its partnership with AvtoVAZ.
Currently, the old version of the Chevrolet Aveo is produced at Avtotor, a private Russian manufacturer based in Kaliningrad. According to the company's spokeswoman for the Chevrolet brand, Nazeli Atabekova, 18,000 Aveo models have been sold in the country last year. She explained it was still early to say whether GM would discontinue assembling the model at Avtotor. The carmaker managed to sell nearly 160,000 vehicles in Russia last year.