The Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Naryshkin, and VW Group boss Martin Winterkorn, were joined by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SkodaAuto, Reinhard Jung, and Prof. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility of 'Group Production', to inaugurate the new Volkswagen plant in Kaluga, Russia, on Wednesday. 

"With the start of vehicle assembly at our new plant in Kaluga, the Volkswagen Group has definitively arrived in the emerging Russian market. Local production of Volkswagen and Skoda brand vehicles in the up-and-coming city of Kaluga now gives us the chance to increasingly profit from rapid growth on Russia's automotive market," Winterkorn commented in Kaluga. The foundation stone at the site located south west of Moscow was laid on October 28, 2006 - exactly thirteen months prior to assembly start-up.

Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Octavia models, the first vehicles to be assembled in Russia, jointly left the assembly line during a ceremony attended by over 600 invited guests from business, industry and politics. It is planned to assemble some 66,000 units of the two brand models in 2008 under the now complete first development stage of the plant. In the second development stage from 2009, the plant with a maximum capacity of 150,000 vehicles will begin production at its own body shop, paintshop and final assembly line.

Reinhard Jung, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SkodaAuto, underlined the significance of the new plant in the "Grabzevo" techno-park: "For Volkswagen and Skoda, Russia is a strategic emerging market. The fact that Skoda has begun to produce the Octavia here is an important signal for the further development of our brand. We already manufacture at three plants in the Czech Republic, as well as in India, Ukraine, Bosnia, Kazakhstan and now Russia. Kaluga is thus our fifth foreign location. Skoda Auto is on the road worldwide."