Daimler and GAZ Sign MoU on Contract Manufacturing of Sprinter Van in Russia


STUTTGART, Germany - Daimler and the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ signed a memorandum of understanding today in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The aim is to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in Russia. Plans also call for local production of engines, transmissions, axles, and other components, which will then be used in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and in the GAZ product portfolio.

Pending positive findings of a technical feasibility study, Mercedes-Benz Vans and GAZ will begin preparing the Nizhny Novgorod production location in 2011 for the joint production of vehicles and components. This will involve modification of the existing light commercial vehicles production facilities at the site, bringing new facilities to Russia, and training GAZ employees for their new tasks. After production is launched, it is expected that about 25,000 units of the Sprinter will roll off the assembly line in Russia in a typical year. Daimler will organize sales and servicing of the vehicles through the existing Mercedes-Benz dealership network, with support of the selected GAZ dealerships.

At the official presentation of the project, Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said alongside Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, "Russia is an attractive place to invest with great opportunities for growth, and that's why Daimler has made a long-term commitment to it. The partnership with GAZ underscores once again the fact that Daimler has come to stay and to achieve further growth."

Siegfried Wolf, Chairman of the OAO GAZ Board of Directors, commented, "Cooperation with Daimler will allow GAZ to attract new technologies, to create new jobs, and to develop a modern automotive component base in Russia. It falls within the Russian Government drive to increase the automotive industry's share of the GDP and to improve our manufacturing capacities and technologies."

At the signing of the memorandum of understanding, Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, underscored the decision to launch local production in Russia: "For Mercedes-Benz Vans Russia remained an unexplored market. Our traditional markets are in Western Europe, Latin America, and North America. In Russia the market volume for midsized and large vans is about 117,000 units. By 2020 the market is expected to grow to approximately 275,000 units. That shows how important and right it is to be active in Russia. Together with GAZ we will put the optimal products for the Russian market on the road. To do this, Daimler AG will invest more than €100 million."

Bo Andersson, President of GAZ Group, said, "The cooperation will see GAZ's existing LCV production facilities upgraded with employees receiving new training. All this will help to improve the consumer characteristics and the reliability of GAZ own models. It is expected that around 25,000 Sprinter vans will roll off the assembly line in Russia in a typical year. As GAZ and Mercedes-Benz LCVs largely target different customer groups, both companies expect to be able to develop successfully in their respective market segments in Russia".

Oleg Deripaska, the head of Basic Element, majority owner of GAZ, commented: "I warmly welcome the cooperation between GAZ and Daimler, which puts both companies in a strong position to take advantage of Russia's growing automotive market and to meet the future trends of the industry. This cooperation also reflects the growing level of integration between Russian and international economies".

Daimler is making headways into Russia with the help of GAZ