While Western automakers have exited Russia over economic sanctions related to its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, consumers have still been able to access Western products due to a ‘parallel import’ scheme introduced by President Vladimir Putin.

It was recently revealed by Reuters that Russian firm Automotive Technologies had been making new models of Citroën C5 Aircross in 2023, in partnership with China’s Dongfeng Motor Group.

The vehicles were made using imported kits at Stellantis’ Kaluga plant, which had been stood down since the automaker’s exit.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, in December 2023 Pavel Bezruchenko, director for strategic development of Automotive Technologies, told reporters that “to restart production at the PSMA Rus plant, we found it was possible to organize the supply of components from China for the cars of our root brands. For this, agreements were reached between Automotive Technologies and the Chinese supplier.”

He continued that serial production at Stellantis’ Kaluga plant is planned for Q2 2024.

While Russia’s ‘parallel import’ scheme undermines the aims of Western economic sanctions, the overseas products that reach the country must have been ‘obtained legally’.

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Citroën’s parent company, Stellantis is in a JV with Dongfeng in China, making Citroën and Peugeot models.

Stellantis has ‘lost control of its entities in Russia’

When asked about Reuters’ report, a Stellantis spokesperson told Just Auto in a statement:

“As previously communicated, Stellantis has suspended imports to Russia in March 2022 and announced on April 19, 2022 the suspension of manufacturing operations in Kaluga to ensure full compliance with all cross sanctions and to protect its employees.

“As a consequence of its compliance with all cross sanctions in place, Stellantis concluded that since December 31, 2023 it has lost control of its entities in Russia as it no longer has power over these entities. 

Stellantis’ statement added:

“As a consequence of its inability to direct local operations, Stellantis concluded [that as of December 31, 2023] it has lost control of its entities in Russia. The resulting deconsolidation of those entities has an immaterial impact on the company’s financial results.”