“If sold, the plant will not build rebadged versions of the Camry and RAV4”

Snapshot

  • Toyota ends Russian manufacturing
  • RAV4 and Camry no longer built in St Petersburg
  • Sale of facility being considered

Toyota will close its Russian manufacturing facility in St Petersburg, where its RAV4 and Camry are built for the Russian market.

The RAV4 was Russia’s 11th best-selling vehicle in 2021, but in March this year Toyota halted production in St Petersburg citing material and component shortages due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The firm has also stopped importing vehicles into Russia.

Although the factory in St Petersburg has been kept ready to reopen for the last six months, Toyota has now made the decision that it will not allow further production.

The Japanese marque has considered selling the St Petersburg plant. However, a Toyota spokesperson told Automotive News Europe there won’t be a sudden influx of knock-offs if that happens. “If sold, the plant will not build rebadged versions of the Camry and RAV4,” they said.

Toyota opened its St Petersburg facility in 2007. It had a production capacity of 100,000 units annually, mainly to satiate the Russian market – though exports made their way to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia.

Although the RAV4 was very popular in Russia last year (38,441 sales), in August the company sold just 221 vehicles – 97 per cent down on the same month last year.

Will this affect Australian Toyota supply?

Toyota supply is severely restricted globally, so any facility shut down may have some effect on Australia. Luckily for Aussies, the Russian plant produced cars almost entirely for domestic consumption.

The closure of the St Petersburg plant is therefore unlikely to harm Australian supply of RAV4 and Camry, which are sourced from Japanese factories.

What will happen to Toyota in Russia?

Toyota employs around 2350 people in Russia and around 1900 of those work at the St Petersburg plant. A further 450 are employed in marketing and dealerships.

The Japanese carmaker expects around 2000 workers to leave the company, with the remaining employees staying to support existing Toyota customers in Russia.

Toyota said workers will be offered new employment and re-skilling opportunities, as well as financial support above Russia’s legal requirements.

It is not the first carmaker to pull out of the Russian market. Volkswagen and Nissan have also announced a stop-sale in the country.

Renault recently sold its majority shares in AvtoVaz – Russia’s most prolific carmaker and owner of Lada – reportedly for one Ruble (AU$0.027) to a Russian science institute with a six-year buy back option.

With Toyota and other mainstream manufacturers out, Automotive News Europe pointed out the gap left open for Chinese manufacturers such as Saic and GWM to capitalise on the Russian market.

COMMENTS

Keyword: Toyota shuts down Russian plant which makes RAV4 and Camry

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