By on February 10, 2011

While Mazda is still talking with Russian politicos about producing cars in Siberia, Toyota is doing it.  Toyota “is moving into the Russian Far East ahead of other Japanese automakers as part of a high-priority effort to tap emerging markets,” at least as far as  The Nikkei [sub] is concerned.

The Russian Far East and Siberia used to be a hotbed for well maintained barely used Japanese cars, sold before the feared Japanese shaken car inspection and traded in for new. Some 80 percent of the cars in these frosty regions, just across the water from Japan, used to be Japanese RHD models. Last year, Russia enacted punitive tariffs on imported cars, especially on imported used cars. “Moscow wants to force foreign auto makers to open their own plants in Russia,” said Automobilwoche [sub]. And apparently, Moscow’s wishes are being fulfilled. In a somewhat roundabout, but very Japanese way.

According to another story in The Nikkei [sub], Japanese keiretsu giant Mitsui will start a joint venture with the Russian automaker Sollers. Toyota would supply “parts” (most likely CKD kits) and equipment, and train the personnel. Then, the cars would be loaded on the Trans Siberian Railroad and sold all over Russia. Which car is unknown, the Nikkei is going out on a limb and guesses it could be a sedan or an SUV.

Mitsui and Toyota go a long ways back. At some time in the dark ages, Toyota was part of the Mitsui conglomerate.

It could also be that the Nikkei jumped the gun and that it’s only talk, just like Mazda. When asked about the plans, Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett told TTAC that “no decision has been made.”

After a near death experience, the Russian car market is humming again. Bloomberg reports that Russian new car sales rose 72 percent in January to 127,654 units.

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4 Comments on “Toyota Sent To Siberia?...”

  • avatar

    This morning I was in Hong Kong watching the Asian market open with MSNBC host Bernie Lo.

    I believe he commented that Nissan was down like 2% despite their positive reports and Toyota was up like 4.5%.   However my numbers could be slightly off since I have CRS.  (can’t remember sh**)
    It was further commented that the market reacted positively to Toyota because the news about Russia manufacturing was interpreted as a trend to offshore Japan manufacturing.  

    So Japan Inc seems to be faced with the same problems that the US went through.

    Over the longer term, manufacturing local may be the common strategy for global automakers.   It will be interesting to see if China buys into that concept as they evolve.

  • avatar

    Moving factories beyond the Ural Mountains, beyond the reach of German bombers, er German importers… or something. But seriously, Toyota’s and Subaru’s are already popular in many parts of Poland and Russia.
    Maybe they could build them in Tankograd where there are still lots of old factories still standing.

  • avatar

    Isn’t there a BIG unused building at Chernobyl ready to renovate and be put to use.
    Likely in better shape than large parts of Detroit and surely with a kinder, gentler more civilize populace but that’s just an Old Coot Opinion.

  • avatar

    “Some 80 percent of the cars in these frosty regions, just across the water from Japan, used to be Japanese RHD models.”
    I guess that a significant number of RHD cars could create big traffic and security issues.

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