ST. PETERSBURG, August 18 (Itar-Tass) —— St. Petersburg is ready to expand an automotive cluster and is interested to attract more car manufacturers, including Italy’s Fiat, Zarina Gubayeva, a spokeswoman for the city committee for investments and strategic development, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
“Such big company as Fiat is within St. Petersburg’s sphere of interest, and we are interested to welcome it in the city from the point of view of future investments, new jobs, more tax proceeds, and new technologies,” she said in comment of reports on Fiat’s possible placement of assembly facilities in the city.
On Wednesday, Dmitry Levchenkov, the director of the project financing department of the Russian ministry of economic development, told journalists that Fiat is eyeing St. Petersburg or Nizhny Novgorod as possible venues for placing car assembly lines. “No final decision has been taken yet, it will come in the autumn. They are considering Nizhny Novgorod and St. Petersburg, and the latter is the most probable option,” he said.
Under an agreement the Russian ministry of economic development signed with Fiat on June 21, the concern will manufacture 120,000 cars a year in Russia. It will also build an engine making plant. Fiat’s total investments in the project are estimated at one billion U.S. dollars.
Currently, four global car manufacturers, Toyota, General Motors, Nissan, and Hyundai, have their production facilities in St. Petersburg, which make ten car models. Four of these ten, Hyundai Solaris, Opel Astra, Chevrolet Cruze, and Toyota Camry, are ranked among Russia’s top five bestsellers. The fifth bestselling car, the Kia Ria, has been manufactured by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Rus since August 15, 2011.