RUSSIA: GM interested in AvtoVAZ stake
GM is interested in bidding for a stake in Russia's largest vehicle manufacturer, AvtoVAZ.
According to the Financial Times, the head of GM Russia, Warren Browne, said that AvtoVAZ had indicated they 'would be interested in GM's position' on a stake stale. However, he added that AvtoVAZ would also be likely to approach Fiat, since its chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, has also expressed an interest in working with the company.
AvtoVAZ signed an agreement last month to develop engines and components with Italy's Fiat SpA.
Russian press have reported that Renault might also be interested in making a bid, and there is speculation that Magna may be another potential partner.
GM already has a joint venture with AvtoVAZ producing the Chevrolet Niva SUV and Chevrolet Viva sedans. It is also building a Greenfield plant in St. Petersburg, and Chevrolet vehicles are assembled from kits in Kaliningrad.
In September, Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rosoboronexport, which controls AvtoVAZ, said that the company may sell a 25% stake to outside investors.
GM is hoping to sell a million GM cars in Russia by 2010. GM Europe president, Carl-Peter Forster, told Automotive News Europe earlier this week that it hopes to assemble a range of Opel models, including the Astra, and next generation Corsa, Zafira and Vectra models. It hopes to increase capacity at AvtoVAZ to produce these models and avoid paying a 25% import duty on completely built-up vehicles.