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GM to Change Business Model in Russia

Mar 19, 2015

  • Focus on Cadillac and iconic Chevrolet vehicles
  • Wind down Opel brand and sale of mainstream Chevrolet cars
  • Idle GM Auto manufacturing facility in St. Petersburg
  • Part of GM’s strategy to ensure long-term sustainability in global markets

Opel News - The Chevrolet brand will minimize its presence in Russia and the Opel brand will leave the market by December 2015

DETROIT – General Motors today announced plans to change its business model in Russia. GM will focus on the premium segment of the Russian market with Cadillac and U.S. built iconic Chevrolet products such as the Corvette, Camaro and Tahoe. The Chevrolet brand will minimize its presence in Russia and the Opel brand will leave the market by December 2015.


“This change in our business model in Russia is part of our global strategy to ensure long-term sustainability in markets where we operate,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “This decision avoids significant investment into a market that has very challenging long-term prospects.”


Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann said, “We do not have the appropriate localization level for important vehicles built in Russia and the market environment does not justify a major investment to further localize.”


The GM Auto plant in St. Petersburg will halt production by the middle of 2015. GM is planning to idle the plant. Furthermore, the contract assembly of Chevrolet vehicles at GAZ will be discontinued in 2015.


The GM-AVTOVAZ joint venture will continue to build and market the current generation Chevrolet NIVA. GM’s global luxury brand Cadillac will be set up for growth in Russia over the next several years as it prepares for numerous product introductions.


Chevrolet and Opel will work closely with their dealer networks in Russia to define future steps while ensuring the company will honor its obligations to existing customers in the coming years. “We can assure our customers that we will continue to provide warranty, parts and services for their Chevrolet and Opel vehicles. We want to thank our customers and dealers for their loyalty to the Chevrolet and Opel brands,” said Dr. Neumann.


“We had to take decisive action in Russia to protect our business. We confirm our outlook to return the European business to profitability in 2016 and stick to our long-term goals as defined in our DRIVE!2022 strategy,” said Dr. Neumann. By 2022, the company plans to raise its market share in total Europe to 8 percent and to reach a profit margin of 5 percent.


As a result of the decision to change the business model in Russia, GM expects to record net special charges of up to approximately $600 million primarily in the first quarter of 2015. The special charges include sales incentives, dealer restructuring, contract cancellations and severance related costs. Approximately $200 million of the net special charges will be non-cash expenses.