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General Motors and Ford want American suppliers to follow them into Russia.

GM planning $1 billion investment in old Soviet heartland.

by on Jan.25, 2012

Cars move along Ford's assembly line in St. Petersburg.

General Motors is planning to invest more than $1 billion in Russia over the next five years, said James Bovenzi, managing director of GM Russia and CIS, and it expects production, including production by its joint venture partners, to double from 232,000 units in 2010 to more than 520,000 units in 2015.

But the maker doesn’t want to do it alone.  GM wants its traditional supply network to follow along.  And so do Ford, which sees significant growth potential of its own in Russia.

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“The reason we are there is we see opportunity,” Bovenzi said during a dinner meeting arranged by the U.S.-Russia Business Council to encourage American automotive suppliers to consider investments in Russia.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand in Russia” he noted. “The average vehicle is more than 10 years old.  The middle class is growing and nine of the 10 best-selling cars in Russia are foreign brands,” noted Bovenzi, adding GM’s Chevrolet brand was a top seller.

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