Feb. 11 – Toyota will join forces with Russian automaker OAO Sollers to boost auto production close to the locations where demand for cars is growing, the Nikkei newspaper and Kyodo News agency reports, citing unidentified sources.
Toyota will ally with Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co to use the existing Sollers factory in the Russian city of Vladivostok to produce passenger cars, possibly sport utility vehicles, starting around next year.
Under the business plan, Toyota will provide parts and production technologies and to carry out training of workers at Sollers to roll out 30,000 Toyota-brand vehicles annually. It will be Toyota’s second production base in Russia.
According to Japanese business media, Toyota Motors is planning an upgrade of the factory in which dozens of millions dollars will be enclosed. The exact sum of investment in factory modernization is not identified yet.
The Sollers – Toyota cars will be on sale exclusively within the territory of the Russian Federation, and Mitsui will transport the cars via the Trans-Siberian Railway to sell them throughout Russia, the business daily said.
Mitsui and Sollers may reach an agreement this month, the Nikkei said.
Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, has been producing automobiles in Russia since 2007, churning out about 20,000 popular Camry sedans at its factory located in St. Petersburg. Toyota said its sales in Russia jumped 17 percent year on year to 91,000 vehicles in 2010.
Toyota will become the first Japanese automaker to assemble cars in Russia’s Far East.
Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles globally since the fall of 2009 for a series of safety issues. But Toyota on Tuesday revised up its full-year earnings and sales forecasts on booming sales in China and other high-growth markets.
The Renault-Nissan alliance is also reported to be interested in a car assembly facility in the Far East, Russian daily Vedomosti reports.
“A decision about this plan is not accepted yet,” an alliance representative said to the paper.
Automobile sales in Russia are expected to grow 17 percent to 2.24 million units this year, the Nikkei said.