Nyet: just-auto is attending, for the third year, Russias International Economic Forum but access to president Vladimir Putins plenary session closing address was denied

Nyet: just-auto is attending, for the third year, Russia's International Economic Forum but access to president Vladimir Putin's plenary session closing address was denied

Barely had our business/components/suppliy chain editor Simon Warburton, liberally fuelled by glutinous rice balls he helped make, touched back down in Blighty, after a week covering the 2016 Global Automotive Forum in Chongqing, China, and it was time for us to sling him back onto a plane, this one bound for the 'Detroit of Russia', St Petersburg.

Mission: coverage for just-auto of juicy auto-related revelations from the 16th International Economic Forum and a chance to talk to some major movers and shakers from the wider political scene. We're still waiting for a word from Russian president Putin but we have reported some interesting comments by European Commission (EC) president, Jean-Claude Juncker on the possible UK 'Brexit' from the EU - we vote next Thursday (23 June).

We also have, from the Russian forum, an update on Iran's new local content rules as auto and component makers pile in following the lifting of sanctions. And who wouldn't? Pent-up demand, a mostly young population with money in their pockets, mostly old clunkers on the roads, a potential extra 3m sales a year beckons for automakers willing to meet some pretty tough terms.

Staying with Russia for a moment, there was news this week, though not from the automaker, Daimler is considering a Mercedes-Benz plant there. Numerous others have paved the way, including VW, working their way up, with prodding from The Kremlin, from simple SKD 'kit' assembly through CKD to local panel pressing, and then engines, to more or less full local manufacture. Bringing suppliers with them, which should help Stuttgart with the decision. And all this in what might be described 'currently challenging market conditions'. Less coyly, Daimler itself announced it would widen its 'green' model line which is going to cost a few euros. 

VW this week announced a new strategy to take it out to 2025 and electrification and new mobility solutions are highlighted, including a major electrification initiative - more than 30 new e-vehicles by 2025 and annual unit sales target of two to three million.

Ontario, the Canadian Detroit and a province which showed off its connected car skills to just-auto last year, was in the news this week. Firstly GM announced a healthy expansion of its R&D, adding 700 jobs, and then the province kicked in a considerable sum to help Fiat Chrysler build a new PHEV variant of its evergreen minivan line, now called Pacifica, at its Windsor plant.

Our Man in Brazil has been telling you about it for yonks but, finally, Jaguar Land Rover officially opened its local assembly plant and we thought that was a good time to put the Tata Motors-owned automaker's international strategy under the microscope. At home, though, things aren't looking so great for Tata's own line of mostly small cars as sales have plunged and foreign brands are on the ascent.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com