Ukraine crisis raises auto industry concerns image

While Russia and Ukraine spar for local political and economic interests, global automakers with interests there are watching the situation with growing concern.

While the automotive market in Russia has recently went into a decline, it still counts as one of Europe’s biggest – with 2.78 million deliveries for 2013, while the rising UK industry accounted only for 2.26 million units and Germany, Europe’s largest, had 2.95 million cars sold.

“The latest situation is very volatile and we are closely monitoring it,” Stephen Odell, Ford’s European chief, said at the Geneva auto show. “We won’t do anything short term. It’s too early to jump to any conclusions.”

“We’re watching the situation very closely on all fronts to be prepared to act,” GM President Dan Amman said. “It’s a big market for us.”

“In Russia we have a lot of economic and financial interests,” Jerome Stoll, Renault’s chief performance officer, told reporters. “Our localization rate is already very high, we are close to 80 percent to 85 percent, so we are not too worried by the devaluation. The main issue is the evolving political situation.”

The escalation of military forces in the Crimea territory under dispute might cause business problems for the automakers seeking to access a market with 140 million consumers, especially since many of them invested billions of rubles to set up local production.

Via Automotive News Europe