General Motors broke ground for the expansion of GM Auto, its wholly owned manufacturing facility in St. Petersburg, Russia. It will more than double GM Auto’s annual production capacity from the current 98,000 vehicles to 230,000 vehicles by 2015.
GM says the project is the most significant development for its Russian operations since GM Auto opened in 2008.
GM Auto’s expansion is part of a partnership formed last year with the Russian Federal Ministry of Economic Development that will lead to GM investing US$1 billion in its Russian operations over the next five years. The investment will also support the increase of production at the GM-AVTOVAZ joint venture in Togliatti, Russia, resulting in combined annual Russian production capacity for GM of 350,000 vehicles.
When the expansion is complete, employment at the facility will increase from 2,500 to 4,000 people. They will manufacture Chevrolet and Opel models for the Russian market. Among the additional vehicles that will be produced at GM Auto is the new Opel Astra sedan, which will make its worldwide debut at the Moscow International Motor Show in August.