Putin And German Officials Celebrate Opening Of New Mercedes-Benz Plant In Moscow
Germany's Daimler AG officially opened its new automotive manufacturing plant in Russia, with its opening ceremonies attended by no other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the opening ceremonies, Putin mentioned that he hopes that both countries will continue to work together and that Russia was going to support similar projects with Germany in the future. Putin, Germany's economy minister Peter Altmaier, and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG Dieter Zetsche all participated in officially unveiling the new car plant located at the Esipovo Industrial Park just north of Moscow.
The construction of the massive manufacturing plant in Moscow began in 2017, with Daimler investing around US$250 million in the factory. The plant will mainly be producing luxury sedans and sport utility vehicles for domestic consumption. Vehicles that will be assembled in the new factory will include the new E-Class, S-Class, and A-Class model sedans. Daimler will also be producing its Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and GL-Class SUVs in the same factory. At full operation, the plant is expected to churn out at least 25,000 vehicles per year. Over 1,000 people will be employed at the factory, most of which will be sourced domestically.
At the opening ceremony, Putin expressed his excitement about the new Mercedes-Benz plant and mentioned that the brand will surely be a popular car in the country. Altmaier, on the other hand, mentioned that the new factory is solid proof that both Russia and Germany can work together. The economic minister also mentioned that both countries can not only resolve their political problems but also work together to further develop their economic relations. Altmaier added that Russia's success will also directly result in Germany's success.
Russia's automotive industry had previously collapsed in 2013. Its economy, particularly its automotive sector, was greatly affected by international sanctions directly resulting in its role in the Ukraine crisis. Other automotive manufacturers have also abandoned their businesses in the country, citing poor car sales as the main reason for their departure. Ford recently announced that they will be closing two of its assembly plants in Russia, reasoning that its passenger car models were no longer sellable in the country.
Despite the country's economic conditions, high-end brands such as Mercedes-Benz have managed to prosper. Daimler also currently has a partnership with the Russia's Republic of Tatarstan to produce trucks and other commercial vehicles. Daimler currently has its own assembly line in Russia, which produces Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Classic minibusses. The assembly line is located at the Nizhny Novgorod facilities owned by Daimler's Russian automotive partner, GAZ Group.