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GM opens USD300 million assembly plant in Russia

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ST. PETERSBURG, RUS. November 7, 2008: General Motors (GM) opened today a $300 million, flexible assembly plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, in presence of President Dmitry Medvedev. The plant will add 70,000 units of capacity to more than 100,000 already available to GM at joint venture and partner facilities in the country. It will build the Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva SUVs and, as of late 2009, the all-new Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan. The plant features a flexible, modern design that can accommodate a variety of different models.

“Today’s plant opening underlines GM’s strong commitment to Russia,” said GME President Carl-Peter Forster at today’s opening ceremony. “This new plant will cement our position as the number one non-domestic manufacturer in Russia, a high-volume growth market with outstanding potential.” The new GM plant in Shushary on the outskirts of St. Petersburg is the third manufacturing site to build GM vehicles in Russia. In Togliatti, the GM Avtovaz joint venture plant is manufacturing the Chevrolet Niva SUV, and in Kaliningrad GM’s partner, Avtotor, is assembling various Chevrolet, Cadillac and Hummer models for the Russian market.

“GM’s investment in this modern, flexible car plant is an investment in the future,” said Valentina Matvienko, Governor of the St. Petersburg region. “We are proud to be the home of the first General Motors plant to open in the company’s second century.”

GM sales boom in Russia
GM nearly doubled industry growth in Russia from January-September 2008 with sales up 44 percent to 256,765 cars and SUVs. GM reached a market share of 11 percent and was the leading international vehicle manufacturer in Europe’s second biggest market.

Chevrolet sales in Russia grew by 33.5 percent or 44,145 units in the first nine months of this year to 175,798. Opel is the fastest growing brand in the Russian vehicle market with sales rocketing to 78,051 in the January-September period, which corresponds to a growth rate of 73.3 percent.

Top quality through standardised manufacturing methods
“Our St. Petersburg plant will work to the same high standards that have recently resulted in major quality awards for our cars,” said Carl-Peter Forster. GM’s new employees in St. Petersburg have undergone intensive training in the company’s global manufacturing system which focuses on top quality in all processes, continuous improvement and involvement of the workforce.