ST. PETERSBURG, December 21. /TASS/. Several car makers, including BMW and Uzbekistan’s Uzavtosanoat, are looking at placing their production lines at the General Motors’ facility that was mothballed several years ago, Georgy Poltavchenko, governor of Russia’s second largest city, said in an interview with Russia’s three leading news agencies.
"Indeed, Uzbekistan is showing big interest to the General Motors facility. But we have a range of other offers concerning this facility. Thus, BMW and a Belarusian company are demonstrating interest. It’s too early to say who is going to work there. The final decision is up to the owner - General Motors. The Uzbek company has close links to it as it assembles their cars," he said.
According to the governor, St. Petersburg’s automotive cluster comprising Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai has managed to regain its positions as one of the city’s most dynamically developing sectors. In 2017, car production grew by almost 24%, with as many as 285,000 cars manufactured in January-October.
"Practically all car makers have development plans. Some have already begun to upgrade their product range, some are planning to do it next year. Hyundai is seriously looking at possible construction of a new car engine plant in St. Petersburg. I hope we will reach an agreement, so we have good prospects," Poltavchenko said.
General Motors opened its plant in St. Petersburg in 2008. Investments in the project were estimated at 300 million US dollars. In 2015, it put out Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra cars and assembled Chevrolet Trailblazer, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Captiva and several models of Cadillac. In 2015, it planned to expend its production from 98,000 to 230,000 car and to localize up to 60% of production by 2018.
GM halted production and mothballed its St. Petersburg plant on July 1, 2015. Full-cycle production was halted still earlier, in March, after General Motors had announced restructuring of its business in Russia. Semi knocked down assembly continued for more than three months.
Several companies announced their plans to take over the idling facility but no final decision has been taken as of yet.