RUSSIA: Sollers looks east for foreign brand assembly
Russian automaker Sollers, known earlier as Severstal Auto, plans to launch assembly of foreign-branded vehicles in the Russian far eastern city of Vladivostok, Russian business media reported on Tuesday.
Sollers is currently in talks to buy production sites at Vladivostok-based ship repair plant Dalzavod, media reported, citing Sergei Darkin, governor of the Primorsky region.
A Sollers representative confirmed to business daily Vedomosti the carmaker was seeking to buy one of Dalzavod's buildings. He didn't disclose the value of the deal or the total size of investments in the project, saying only that the company planned to borrow funds from state-owned Vnesheconombank, or VEB.
Sollers invested US$100m in facilities in the constituent republic of Tatarstan before the financial crisis, according to RBC Daily.
The company has been looking for a production site in the far east for over a year.
Initially, Sollers planned to launch car production in the city of Khabarovsk. But the site in Vladivostok is more favourable in terms of logistics, the company representative told the daily. Sollers plans to start producing vehicles at Dalzavod at the end of this year, the carmaker representative said. In the future, Sollers plans full production in Vladivostok and may buy more Dalzavod buildings.
Sollers plans to produce Isuzu trucks, Fiat Ducato commercial vehicles, and SsangYong sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in Vladivostok. It projects annual production of at least 17,000 vehicles, according to Vedomosti.
Sollers assembles Fiat, SsangYong, and Isuzu vehicles and produces its own UAZ-branded cars.