Stellantis is closing its only Russian plant and relocating its Opel, Peugeot and Citroën vans to Europe

After banning any import or export with Russia on March 11, the Stellantis Group announced on March 31 that the automaker wanted to due to problems in the supply chain, the only Russian production facility will soon have to close.

Today, Tuesday, April 19, the time has come: Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest automobile manufacturer, announces that it will open its PSMA Rus plant in Kaluga (200 km south-west of Moscow), which is supposed to start in February… – the European market with commercial vehicles Brands Peugeot, Citroën and Opel.

On the one hand, Stellantis wants to comply more comprehensively with the international sanctions that have been imposed on Russia since February 24 after the invasion of Ukraine.

“Following the daily tightening of cross-sanctions and the logistical difficulties encountered on a daily basis, Stellantis has decided to suspend its industrial operations in Kaluga to ensure full compliance with all cross-sanctions and to protect its employees,” the group says in a statement.

On the other hand, this decision also confirms a situation of blocking of production lines due to now insurmountable logistical problems – the factory was idle and only for the local market, but the lack of spare parts eventually made it impossible to assemble vans.

Stellantis holds only 1% of the Russian market (vs. 29% for Renault)

Stellantis has therefore completely stopped all activities in Russia. The number four in the automotive world ensures that the loss of the Russian market will not have a major economic impact on its results.

Unlike Renault, which thanks to Lada dominates the Russian market with a weight of almost 29%, Stellantis, which distributes Peugeot, Citroën, Opel, Jeep and Fiat brands in Russia, holds only 1% of the country’s car market. In 2021, the group sold just 100,000 vehicles in this area out of a total of 6.5 million worldwide.

Production was moved to Europe

Stellantis, which relied on the Russian plant to supply the European market with Peugeot Expert, Citroën Jumpy and Opel Vivaro vans, plans to shift those production volumes to Hordain, France, and Luton, England.

PSMA Rus’ 2,700 Russian employees are unemployed or furloughed until early June, the group said.

Before Stellantis, most manufacturers had already suspended industrial production in Russia on March 22, including Renault.

The first manufacturer to react to the sanctions decided by the European Union in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the German BMW, which on March 1 stopped production in Russia and also exports to the country. In the following two weeks, most of the other manufacturers had taken similar measures: Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, GM…

Joint venture with Mitsubishi

Note that this PSMA Rus plant in Kaluga, built in 2010, is a joint venture between Stellantis, which owns 70% of the shares, and Mitsubishi, which owns the remaining 30%.

During his March 31 press conference, Carlos Tavares did not specify whether the group resulting from the merger of PSA and FCA is considering a write-down Kaluga factory or a possible confiscation by the Russian authorities in the event of a cessation of activities.

(with AFP and Reuters)