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Nissan Targets Sagging Russian Market with Datsun Brand

Russia expected to be the largest market in Europe.

by on Apr.07, 2014

The Datsun on-DO is the brand's first offering in Russia. It is a four-door, five-seat family sedan.

Despite a slowdown and sales, cuts in production and the political crisis in the Ukraine, global automakers are still moving ahead with plans to expand in Russia, which could become Europe’s largest single market before the end of the decade.

Russian sales dropped 5% last year and are expected to shrink further this year despite the pent up demand for new vehicles in European Russia. At the same, though, Nissan has moved forward with sales in Russia of its Datsun brand, which is aimed at the lower range of the market.

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Global automakers appear to be willing to look beyond Russia’s role in the messy political upheaval in the Ukraine as they continue to expand in Russia, which is expected to emerge as the largest automotive market in Europe well before the end of the decade. (more…)

Renault Nissan Acquiring Control of Russia’s Avtovaz

Russia the next big opportunity for Japanese maker.

by on May.04, 2012

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: back in the USSR or what's left of it.

While Nissan officials have been actively touting their aggressive plans for China they’ve also been negotiating behind the scenes to get a better position in the promising Russian market – a strategy now set to come together as Nissan and alliance partner Renault acquire a controlling stake in automaker Avtovaz.

Their new Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, would see Renault invest $300 million in the joint venture, Nissan kicking in another $450 million.  And it would help turn the once-decrepit Avtovaz plant in Togliatti into one of the largest automotive manufacturing centers in the world, capable of turning out 1.6 million vehicles annually.

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“Today’s memorandum is the latest step in an expanding collaboration that helps modernise the leader of Russia’s auto industry,” said Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Under the deal, which will become effective in 2014, Nissan and Renault products will roll down the Togliatti assembly line alongside Avtovaz models.  It is unclear if Nissan also will use the facility to produce some models badged under the re-born Datsun nameplate.

(more…)

Jeep Know How Was Key to Fiat’s Russian Deal

Russians want American off-road technology.

by on Feb.11, 2010

Jeeps, or some parts, will soon be Russian bound.

Chrysler’s Jeep brand was one of the keys to the Fiat-Sollers joint venture that will build up to 500,000 vehicles annually in eastern Russia. The deal will benefit Chrysler, with both licensing income and cash for the Jeep vehicle kits exported to Russia, although local content requirements will diminish the economic impact somewhat. (see Fiat and Sollers Announce JV in Russia)

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne had been scheduled to address the prestigious Chicago Economic Club Thursday, but turned the duties over the Chrysler executive vice president Ralph Gilles instead after a hastily arranged trip to Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would not be able to sight the deal until next May, if Marchionne did not show to sign the documents today.

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Russia, which is beginning to recover from a deep recession that cut auto sales there in half, is expected to be one of the fastest growing new vehicle markets in the world over the next decade, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group.

Gilles said he could not say what kind of resources Chrysler will be expected to devote to the project. “I just learned about this,” he said after his speech to the Economic Club of Detroit.   (more…)