Blog: Dave LeggettGet the vodka on board

Dave Leggett | 3 June 2009

I have just been speaking to a conference organiser, Katia Wyatt, at WBR. They have a Russia event coming up in St Petersburg. Naturally, I'd be interested to spend a few days in St Pete later on this month but other commitments unfortunately rule it out.

Katia tells me that despite the industry's tough times in Russia this year, there is plenty of interest in the event. While the vehicle market is way down due to the credit squeeze, OEMs are still investing (eg Nissan's new plant inauguration yesterday). And if the oil price picks up further, Russia's economy may well be quick to respond positively next year.

One interesting thing – she tells me that the proportion of Russians attending the conference is way up on previous years. She also painted an interesting picture of the pre-event 'gala dinner'. Because of the time differences, people travelling in and so on, the dinner thing happens the night before the conference. And, it being in Russia, there's unlimited vodka on the tables. “They get really hammered,” she cheerfully explains.

Now that's fine for the Russians, because they are used to it. However, some of the other nationalities are less so. “I get a little concerned, in particular, about the Japanese OEM visitors,” she confides. “They do their best to keep up with the Russian hosts, but they are just not used to drinking vodka in the quantities that the Russians are.”

Sounds like a refreshingly unstuffy event.

WBR's Russia event


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