Putin Opens New Toyota Plant in St. Petersburg
By Brendan Moore
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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