American car giant to withdraw Opel brand and close its St Petersburg factory

General Motors says it will substantially withdraw from the ailing Russian new car market by the end of the year, according to reports in the German media. It will also close its factory near St Petersburg, with the expected loss of as many as 1000 jobs.

German newspaper Handelsblatt quoted Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann as saying that GM believed the prospects for the Russian new car market were "not good" over the short, medium and longer term.

“We do not have the appropriate localisation level for important vehicles built in Russia, and the market environment does not justify a major investment to further localise," Neumann also said in an official statement.

The American car maker will end sales of Opel cars by the end of this year, and only two or three Chevrolet models will continue to be offered on the Russian market. "Contract assembly of Chevrolet vehicles at [Russian car maker] GAZ will [also] be discontinued in 2015."

Sales of Cadillac models will continue, however, and production of the next-generation Lada-based Chevrolet Niva will also go ahead from 2016.

Russia’s economy has taken a triple hit in the last 12 months, with the crash in oil prices hitting the country hard. The Russian ruble has collapsed against the dollar, increasing the cost of imported vehicles. Russian consumers are also suffering significant inflation.

The country’s economy is also suffering from Western economic sanctions imposed over the conflict in the Ukraine, which borders Russia.

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5

18 March 2015
cost Putin a few votes if nothing else.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

19 March 2015
That's a pretty bleak assessment of the prospects for the Russian economy. The contrast with China couldn't be more extreme. I thought sales of new cars in Russia would be buoyed by the propensity of Russian drivers to write them off in spectacular crashes! Seriously, I wonder if any political pressure has been brought to bear on GM by the US government, to ratchet up the pressure on Putin over Ukraine? Maybe not, given that Cadillac will continue to be sold.

23 March 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

That's a pretty bleak assessment of the prospects for the Russian economy. The contrast with China couldn't be more extreme. I thought sales of new cars in Russia would be buoyed by the propensity of Russian drivers to write them off in spectacular crashes! Seriously, I wonder if any political pressure has been brought to bear on GM by the US government, to ratchet up the pressure on Putin over Ukraine? Maybe not, given that Cadillac will continue to be sold.

Danny boy you caught the ball - this is purely political pressure. New car sales here are still humming along nicely - sure not as good before the Ukraine fiasco. Sad for the 1000 workers. The flip side of this is that Hyundai/Kia are UPPING their production (my ex works there).. so I am not pulling your birdy. Nissan meanwhile just started advertising their new built here and for Russian market new Saloon. Cant remember the name but is a direct competitor to the Hyundai Solaris/Kia Rio.

I have lived here for almost 10 years in St. Pete and whilst living costs have gone up about 18% and the after a made pre Christmas nuthouse on the money exchanges - the ruble is again gaining strength. In december is was 76 ru to the dollar and today it is 62 The pound went as high as 98 but has fallen back to 91 - sure these are much higher than prior Ukraine, but my point is - things are adjusting.

Meanwhile with the footsie at over 7,000 my concern is the crash thats going to affect the rest of the world - because the footsie in reality should not be over 5,500 at best !!!

Meanwhile the Russkies continue to write off cars at an alarming rate and I have escaped all these years. The problem is always the oncoming lunatics - you cannot under any circumstances avoid something being thrown at you, the rest with attention you can avoid

what's life without imagination

23 March 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

That's a pretty bleak assessment of the prospects for the Russian economy. The contrast with China couldn't be more extreme. I thought sales of new cars in Russia would be buoyed by the propensity of Russian drivers to write them off in spectacular crashes! Seriously, I wonder if any political pressure has been brought to bear on GM by the US government, to ratchet up the pressure on Putin over Ukraine? Maybe not, given that Cadillac will continue to be sold.

Danny boy you caught the ball - this is purely political pressure. New car sales here are still humming along nicely - sure not as good before the Ukraine fiasco. Sad for the 1000 workers. The flip side of this is that Hyundai/Kia are UPPING their production (my ex works there).. so I am not pulling your birdy. Nissan meanwhile just started advertising their new built here and for Russian market new Saloon. Cant remember the name but is a direct competitor to the Hyundai Solaris/Kia Rio.

I have lived here for almost 10 years in St. Pete and whilst living costs have gone up about 18% and the after a made pre Christmas nuthouse on the money exchanges - the ruble is again gaining strength. In december is was 76 ru to the dollar and today it is 62 The pound went as high as 98 but has fallen back to 91 - sure these are much higher than prior Ukraine, but my point is - things are adjusting.

Meanwhile with the footsie at over 7,000 my concern is the crash thats going to affect the rest of the world - because the footsie in reality should not be over 5,500 at best !!!

Meanwhile the Russkies continue to write off cars at an alarming rate and I have escaped all these years. The problem is always the oncoming lunatics - you cannot under any circumstances avoid something being thrown at you, the rest with attention you can avoid

what's life without imagination

23 March 2015
Autocar website still has too many glitches

what's life without imagination

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