Last Friday, GM broke ground for the expansion of GM Auto. Which is the corporation’s wholly owned manufacturing facility in St. Petersburg, Russia, which has been in operation since 2008.
This expansion, which will boost annual production capacity from the current 98,000 vehicles to 230,000, is a consequence of a partnership with the Russian Federal Ministry of Economic Development.
And a consequence of that is that GM will be investing $1-billion in its Russian operations over the next five years, which should lead those “GM-is-going-to-move-everything-to-China” conspiracy theorists to modify their approach.
The plant will build various Chevrolet and Opel models for the Russian market, including the Opel Astra sedan, which is to make a worldwide debut at the Moscow International Motor Show in August.
Beyond GM Auto, GM is also part of a joint venture, GM-AVTOVAZ, which is based in Togliatti.
Once everything is up and running, there will be a GM vehicle capacity of 350,000 vehicles per year in Russia.
(GM News Photo)
Said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO, “General Motors is embarking on a new era in Russia, one of the world’s fastest-growing vehicle markets, as part of our strategy to build where we sell. The global vehicles that we produce and the manufacturing systems that we are putting in place are creating long-term benefits for Russia’s automotive industry, its supply base and its economy.
“Our growing investment is the strongest possible endorsement by General Motors of our intent to make Russia a significant part of our international operations. Our vision in Russia, as in all the other markets where we do business, is to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles.”
Lest you think that GM has turned its back on U.S. manufacturing, it is worth noting that the same day, the company had the line-off ceremony for the production of the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter versions of the Ecotec four cylinder engines at the GM Tonawanda Engine Plant in Buffalo, NY, which is the consequence of a $425-million investment that had been announced in February, 2010. The engines are for the 2013 Chevy Malibu and the Cadillac ATS. A couple months later, in April, 2010, the plant was awarded an additional $400-million for the production of a forthcoming, all-new V8 engine for pickups.
(GM News Photo)