Car makers located in St Petersburg – dubbed the Detroit of Russia by some industry observers – continue to operate at a loss, a city official said.

The chairman of the city government’s financial committee told RIA Novosti: “Our plants are still investing, they receive no profit, they still do not have an operational profit. The city budget received RUB1bn last year from the car makers, this is personal income tax.”

Toyota, General Motors, Nissan, and Hyundai have plants in St Petersburg. Fiat and Chrysler plan to spend RUB32bn on a plant there.

Batanov said authorities expect the plants to boost their output by 40-50% in 2012. According to the investments and strategic projects committee of St Petersburg, the city’s manufacturers raised their output to 91,100 cars in the first quarter of 2012 from 39,608 in Q1 2011.