Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Nissan president Carlos Ghosn took part in the opening ceremony of the Japanese automaker's first plant in Russia on Tuesday. Located at St. Petersburg, Nissan's new US$200 million assembly plant has a production capacity of 50,000 vehicles a year. The facility, which is scheduled to employ 750 workers at start of production with one shift, will build the Teana mid-size sedan and the X-TRAIL compact off-roader.
"This is Nissan's breakthrough in Russia," said Ghosn. "The opening of our plant in Saint Petersburg in the current conditions underlines our confidence in the high potential of the Russian economy. With the start of production at our new plant Nissan become an integral part of the local community."
Even though the financial crisis has taken its toll on the Russian car market as sales plunged more than 40% in the first four months of the year compared to 2008 when Russia briefly overtook Germany as Europe's largest car market, many analyst believe that Russia will be a key growth market for automakers when a recovery starts.