Great Wall is building a Russian Plant image

China’s largest SUV maker, Great Wall Motor Co. has announced it has started construction of a $520.7 (3.2 billion ruble) assembly plant in central Russia, Tula Oblast region.

The facility will be constructed in two stages, the first phase scheduled to start in 2017 and costing 2.1 billion yuan. After the first stage is complete, the factory at its full capacity is set to build up to 150,000 vehicles annually. The company did not give any information regarding the second phase of its construction.

This plant will be the first full-scale assembly plant in Russia run by a Chinese automaker. According to the Association of European Businesses, a Moscow-based lobby group, last year Great Wall sold about 20,000 cars in Russia. Several automakers, Great Wall and Chongqing Ifan Industry Group Co. included, already assemble cars in Russia via kits imported from China.

Last week Lifan disclosed plans to build a 930 million yuan production plant in a western state in Russia, Kaluzhskaya Oblast. Lifan sold about 27,500 vehicles in Russia last year. Lifan Group has already entered the Asian, African, South American and European markets with overseas factories in Iran, Iraq, Uruguay and Russia. Mou Gang, vice-president of Lifan Industry Group, said that by 2015, Lifan’s export automobile sales are expected to reach 120,000 units.

By Gabriela Florea