Adam Opel AG, OOO UkrAvtoZAZ-Service and ZAO ZAZ have signed agreements for import, final assembly, distribution and service of selected Opel vehicles in the Ukraine, GM Europe has announced.

Under the agreement, ZAO ZAZ will manage the final assembly of imported Opel Vectra, Astra and Corsa component sets at its plant in Zaporoshje, Ukraine. In addition, OOO UkrAvtoZAZ-Service has been appointed as the exclusive authorized importer and distributor for Opel vehicles, parts and accessories, and will be responsible for restructuring and managing the existing Opel distribution and service network in the Ukraine.

From spring 2003, ZAO ZAZ will assemble component sets of the current Opel Vectra, Astra and Corsa models, for sale only in the Ukraine. By the end of this year, volume is expected to reach over 3,000 vehicles. At the beginning of 2004, the level of local assembly of the Opel Astra will increase to include further tasks such as painting and welding operations.

"Today's signing of the agreement between Adam Opel AG, UkraAvtoZAZ-Service and ZAO ZAZ represents an important milestone in the development of the Ukrainian automotive industry. The Ukrainian government has played an important role in laying the foundation for a strong Ukrainian automotive industry, and now we are seeing the first results. The decision to locally assemble Opel vehicles in Zaporoshje reflects the importance that is being placed on the Ukraine, both as a production site and as a high-potential market," said Tariel Vasadze, President of UkrAvto.

Richard B. Colcomb, Director and Executive in Charge at the International Product Center, Adam Opel AG, added: "We are looking forward to working with ZAZ and UkrAvtoZAZ-Service to bring our vehicles to customers in the Ukraine. Both are excellent partners with skilled resources and the know-how to give us a strong presence in the Ukrainian growth market."

ZAO ZAZ is the largest car manufacturer in the Ukraine, employing approximately 16,000 people. In addition to the plant in Zaporoshje, it operates an assembly facility in Ilyichovsk, a components facility in Pologi and a powertrain facility in Melitopol. ZAO ZAZ produces the ZAZ Tavria-range, a small vehicle sold primarily in the Ukraine, and assembles vehicles for other manufacturers.

OOO UkrAvtoZAZ-Service, the newly appointed distributor for Opel vehicles in the Ukraine, forms part of UkrAvto, the leading service provider and distributor of vehicles in the Ukraine. UkrAvto employs more than 40,000 people in a network of over 400 Ukrainian automotive service companies.