Opel has confirmed that it will return to the Russian market now that it’s under the control of PSA Group.
General Motors pulled Opel out of Russia in 2015 due to a depreciation in the ruble which crippled the country’s local car market. However, the market has since recovered and the German automaker has decided to return.
Speaking with Autonews, Opel chief executive Michael Lohscheller said the car manufacturer may even start assembling some of its vehicles at PSA’s plant in Kaluga, south of Moscow.
“Local production is one of the priorities and the main tool of a successful automotive business in Russia. Taking this into account, we are considering the possibility of expanding the model range in Kaluga and do not rule out assembling Opel cars there.”
PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares views Russia as a way for Opel to increase its footprint in Eurasia. He also thinks the company has an opportunity to replicate its recent success in Ukraine.
“We will continue to invest in LCVs in the Eurasia region and make a double-digit profit and triple volumes in 2021 against 2018. The success story of Eurasia is Ukraine where we have achieved a market share of 6 percent but more work needs to be done in Russia both in terms of product and network capability and management,” Tavares said.
The Kaluga plant is co-owned by PSA and Mitsubishi. The PSA Group has a 70 per cent stake, while Mitsubishi owns the remaining 30 per cent. In 2018, the facility built 38,108 Peugeot, Citroen, and Mitsubishi vehicles, while its maximum capacity is 125,000 vehicles per year.