Left without a production partner after General Motors decided to almost completely abandon the Russian market, Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska’s GAZ Group is now discussing with numerous auto producers to fill the void.
According to GAZ chairman Siegfried Wolf, the local automaker is negotiating with more than six foreign manufacturers to tap the unused production capacity as GM decided to pull out of the crumbling Russian market. GAZ’s assembly facility in Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 km (250 miles) east of Moscow, had been tapped by GM to build Chevrolet models since 2011 – but has now been left unused as the largest US automaker decided to abandon the Russian auto market following the abrupt sales drop this year. GAZ said it is hard at work trying to find a new partner to fill the void, with the Russian producer also under contract manufacturing deals with German automakers Volkswagen and Daimler. “We have about six or seven very interested partners that would go in for production,” commented Wolf on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
He disclosed that among the interested parties stood Chinese makers, but stopped short of identifying any of the auto producers involved in the talks – though he added a final decision would come as soon as the coming two or three months. The plant’s total capacity is in excess of 200,000 units per year, with GM and Volkswagen filling up just 75,000 units last year, together. The executive added its existing partnerships with VW AG and Daimler were stable at the moment, but didn’t rule them crumbling if the sharp downturn the Russian market has seen continues in the long run.