An alleged environmental measure will land Russia in the court of the World Trade Organization, a club Russia had joined only in August. Importers have to pay a “recycling fee” of around 5 percent of a car’s sticker price, local makers do not. “Russia’s trading partners say the new levy is a purely protectionist play under the guise of environmental ‘recycling’,” Reuters writes. “The European Union Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht, has threatened to invoke the disputes procedure of the World Trade Organization.” (Read More…)
As part of a very Russian “incentive program”, GM is more than doubling the output of its wholly owned manufacturing facility in St. Petersburg, Russia. Annual production will increase to 230,000 vehicles by 2015, up from 98,000 units currently. (Read More…)
Russian President Vladimir Putin first showed off his badass camo Lada Niva early last year, in an attempt to boost the fortunes of the floundering state-supported Russian automaker AvtoVAZ. What Putin didn’t reveal until just now is that his Niva isn’t exactly stock.”I won’t hide it [anymore?] , the car I bought has an Opel engine,” he tells the WaPo. “It turns out that it’s more powerful.” Now wonder Russian parliamentarians are starting to advocate dumping AvtoVAZ on Renault, which in turn is drawing a familiar homerism from local pols in Russia’s Detroit, Tolyatti. In other car-salesman-in-chief developments today, Barack Obama revealed that he believes GM is a world-class automaker because his Cadillac is so badass.
Renault may be playing Russian Roulette, but at least it seems the French automaker is finally playing nicely with Avtovaz and the Kremlin. Maybe the thought of ending up like Mikhail Khodorkovsky spurred Carlos Ghosn into action? Or maybe Ghosn came around when he found out that the Kremlin is going to put $1.7 billion into the ailing Russian car maker. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Renault will invest a mere €300 million in the form of of a technology transfer so that Avtovaz can start building the Logan, Renault’s smash hit in Eastern Europe. It’s like the Fiat-Chrysler deal, only cheaper! Renault will also help Avtovaz develop a new car to replace the Zhiguli (I’d never heard of it, either). Some of this production will happen in Russia’s far east and Renault’s Japanese subsidiary is there to help!