RUSSIA: PM to detail auto aid package

By just-auto.com editorial team | 18 December 2008

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin will tomorrow announce measures to help the country's ailing carmakers, a local paper said on Thursday.

These include one seeking a US$940m (EUR650m) emergency loan, the Vedomosti daily reported.

Putin is to announce the measures on Friday at a meeting with auto industry chiefs in Naberezhniye Chelny, base of Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz, the newspaper said, citing Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The prime minister has received a wish-list of requests from carmakers struggling with the effects of the global credit crunch as well as a steady erosion of market share to foreign competitors, Vedomosti said.

Avtovaz has asked for a a 26bn ruble ($940m) loan to help it refinance loans and pay suppliers, the company's chief executive Boris Alyoshin told the newspaper, according to Agence France-Presse.

Carmakers' requests for government assistance "have already been pending for three months, though action needs to be taken quickly," Alyoshin was quoted as saying.

Manufacturers have also asked the government to subsidise low-interest car loans, Vedomosti added.

Putin has already temporarily hiked import tariffs on foreign cars in a bid to help domestic automakers but that caused thousands of Russians to protest in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, where many drive right hand drive domestic-specification cars imported from Japan, the report added.