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Ruble Devaluation May Save Russian Car Production

Published: July 11, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • Russian car sales plunged 17.3 percent in June, compared with 2013.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While the ruble devaluation has devastated car sales and much else over recent months, it has simultaneously served one of the state's long-term aims: to localize car production in Russia.

The president of AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest car producer, on Thursday announced plans to increase domestic production from an already hefty 84 percent of all components to 90 percent.

"Increasing the localization of production is the main trend for me," AvtoVAZ president Bo Andersson told journalists at the ongoing Innoprom industrial trade fair in Yekaterinburg, Prime reported.

With special government agreements with automakers to expire in 2019, and customs duties on imported cars to decline from 25 to 15 percent in the coming years due to Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, it had appeared that localizing production in Russia would lose its cost-cutting appeal.

But the decline in the ruble exchange rate has come to save the day for Russian car production. "Localization is the key way to control costs and to remain competitive on the market," said Vladimir Bespalov, an analyst at VTB Capital.

VTB Capital expects the ruble to continue to depreciate over the coming years. So too does Russia's Economic Development Ministry, which in its base forecast has predicted the exchange rate will gradually rise to between 38.3 and 39.3 rubles to the dollar in 2017, ITAR-Tass reported.

"If production is not localized, this will inevitably either put pressure on costs or will force the producers to increase prices, which will make them less competitive," Bespalov said.

The devaluation has also, of course, had its negative impact, playing a role in the market's collapse of 17.3 percent in June and with 7.6 percent over the past six months compared to the same periods in 2013, according to the Association of European Business.

Joint venture Ford Sollers, which handles all production of Ford vehicles in Russia, has been one of the hardest-hit this year, with sales falling 53 percent this June compared to last year and 39 percent since January.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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