American auto manufacturer could revive Russian operations
The Executive Vice President & President Europe of General Motors has hinted that the American auto firm could one day restart operations at its Russian production plant.
Karl-Thomas Neumann, who is also Chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group, told Automotive News Europe that the possibility of GM reopening its St Petersburg factory is not off the cards, particularly as the firm still has Cadillac and Chevrolet dealer networks within the country.
Mr Neumann said that everything was still in place to revive operations at its Russian factory, which was mothballed in 2015, following the political and economical instability following the Ukraine crisis. GM saw sales plummet drastically in 2014 and again in 2015, at which point the auto firm closed the plant and transferred operations to Germany.
Mr Neumann told Automotive News Europe that selling the factory does not make financial sense: “If we sold it, the gain would only be short term and it doesn’t cost us much to keep it”. Neumann says that GM left Russia in 2015 without “burning any bridges” so that it could return if the country’s situation picked up again.
GM’s Chevrolet Cruz and Opel Astra were manufactured at the St Petersburg factory, but Neumann said that if GM was to start Russian operations again, the firm would not produce Opel models at the plant.
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