General Motors on Monday (29 June) said it would suspend production at its assembly plant in St. Petersburg from Wednesday until 31 August.

GM decided to suspend production at the plant after studying the state of the Russian car market and the recent decline in Russian citizens' purchasing power, its managing director for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Chris Gubbey, said in a statement.

Workers would keep their jobs and receive two-thirds of their normal wages during the suspension which won't affect plans to launch the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in Russia this autumn, Gubbey added.

The St. Petersburg plant had previously suspended production from 8-28 June.

The factory was launched in November 2008 to build Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva SUVs and operated in test mode until February. It is scheduled to build the Cruze and, from 2010, GM's just-announced redesigned Astra. It is expected to reach full capacity of 60,000 cars a year by the end of next year.

Russian logistics essential