UPDATE, March 4: Following widespread international sanctions against the nation, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen Group brands are the latest car manufacturers announcing suspended operations in Russia.
Volkswagen, Porsche, and Bentley have all halted vehicle exports into the country, while production at the company’s Russian factories producing Volkswagen and Skoda models have been stopped “with immediate effect”.
According to market intelligence firm Focus2Move, Russia sold 1.57 million vehicles in 2021 – a slight increase over 2020, but still down on pre-pandemic sales of 1.76 million in 2019.
Of the 1.57 million recorded sales in 2021, Nissan sold 53,000 vehicles, Automotive News Europe reports, while Volkswagen’s Russian sales have been listed at 216,000 for the year – accounting for 2.4 per cent of its global sales.
Despite spending €250 million (AU$375 million) on a new Russian plant which opened in 2019, Mercedes-Benz has also suspended production, as well as stopping exports into the country.
Honda, which was scheduled to exit Russia this year, has also announced it has stopped vehicle exports – with local publication Kolesa reporting the company has closed its business earlier than planned.
According to Nikkei Asia, Mazda also plans to halt exports of parts, though Kolesa states the company’s Vladivostok plant is still operating at this time.
While many car companies have cited Russia’s actions in Ukraine as reason for stopping sales and manufacturing, some insiders have said difficulty in shipping and receiving payments has contributed to the announcements.
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March 3: Toyota has announced it will halt production at its Russian factory later this week, with vehicle imports into the country also being paused until further notice.
Toyota joins BMW, Ford, General Motors, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover who have also announced the suspension of operations in Russia this week.
While some carmakers were outwardly critical of Russia, Toyota cited supply-chain disruptions for the decision.
“Like everyone around the world, Toyota is watching the ongoing developments in Ukraine with great concern for the safety of [the] people and hopes for a safe return to peace as soon as possible,” a statement from the company read.
March 2: A growing number of car manufacturers are suspending operations in Russia in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
BMW, Ford, General Motors, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover are among the companies halting new-car sales in Russia following widespread international sanctions on the country.
“GM is committed to complying with the laws and regulations of the markets in which we do business, including applicable US economic sanctions and export control laws and regulations,” General Motors said in a statement, CNN reports, saying it would suspend exports to Russia until further notice.
Other carmakers weren’t as reserved: “The BMW Group condemns the aggression against Ukraine and follows the developments with great concern and dismay,” a translated statement from German website Bimmer Today read.
“We expressly support the sanctions decided by politicians. Due to the current geopolitical situation, we will stop our local production and export for the Russian market until further notice.”
While other businesses such as Harley-Davidson and Daimler Trucks have also announced similar measures, oil companies Shell and BP have gone a step further, abandoning joint ventures with their Russian counterparts.
The decision to suspend sales in Russia may be easier for manufacturers like Volvo and Ford, which do not have a large presence in the country, but more painful for Renault Group – which counts Russia as its second-largest market after France.
Toyota also shut down its Japanese factories for 24 hours when a large parts manufacturer became victim to a crippling cyber attack, following the Japanese Government’s public statement of support for Ukraine, while announcing sanctions against Russia’s central bank.
Earlier this week, Volkswagen announced it would be forced to temporarily shut production at two of its German plants due to supply issues with parts suppliers located in Ukraine.