Putin Opens New Toyota Plant in St. Petersburg

By Brendan Moore

12.24.2007

Japan and Russia have been fighting with each other for a long time over the Kuril Islands, and that fight has gotten a lot more heated recently. This has made Russian President Vladimir Putin more than a little unhappy with Japan. So how do you warm the cold heart of a guy like Putin if you’re Japanese?

Apparently all it takes is building a big auto factory in Russia. President Putin was on hand Friday at the opening ceremony for the $202 million Toyota factory that is capable of producing 50,000 vehicles a year soon, and 300,000 vehicles when it gets up to full capacity. Toyota’s president, Katsuaki Watanabe was there, too, and said some nice things about Russia, Russian workers, etc. and Putin responded in kind by saying ” “The relationship between Russia and Japan is getting better, and the opening of the plant is a serious step to increase the trust between the two countries,” Putin said. “The expansion of trade and economic ties between our countries will help the solution of other problems”, stated Putin, in an obvious reference to the territorial issues between Russia and Japan.

Toyota is nipping at the heels of Ford in putting in a new factory in Russia, but has beaten other auto manufacturers to the punch; competitors like GM, Nissan and Hyundai all plan to open up large factories in the same region of Russia in the next couple of years.

Mr. Putin is smiling somewhere.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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2 Comments

  1. 300,000 vehicles annually is a lot for a market the size of Russia’s. Toyota must be counting on eventually dominating that market as well as the others it dominates worldwide. I guess Ford, Renault, and maybe GM are the only companies that are capable of holding off a fast-rising Toyota in Russia.

  2. I guess more and more people in the world will be driving a Toyota (sigh). What a bland automotive landscape to look forward to in the future. Like having a bowl of cold oatmeal every morning.

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