2 june, 2009 14:00  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended the inauguration of Nissan’s Russian plant


Mr Putin's address at the ceremony: 

Mr Ghosn (Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Company), Ms Matviyenko (Valentina Matviyenko, Governor of St Petersburg), friends,

This is a joyous day. In the summer of 2006, during the St Petersburg Economic Forum, the Russian Government and Nissan signed an agreement on an investment project to build an automobile assembly plant in St Petersburg.

A year and one month later, in July 2007, we held the groundbreaking ceremony of the plant.

Two years later, we are attending the ceremony of commissioning the plant and the assembly of its first automobile - although the trial assembly was conducted in February. Large investment projects are being implemented in Russia despite problems and difficulties with international funding and the global economic downturn.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the St Petersburg administration. A large number of documents were coordinated and approved at the regional level; I know that the Governor and her team work in a hands-on regime on such projects, creating the requisite environment for investors.

The Russian Government will continue to support any investment, but above all direct investment and especially investment in high technology, new ideas and innovation projects.

This is a good project, with over $200 million of investment, 50,000 cars and 750 new jobs. Moreover, it has the capability to increase production several-fold, to 500,000 cars, without increasing its production area. The company is so far using only one-third of the land plots allocated to it in the city. However, the decision to increase production will depend on the market situation.

I am confident that the Russian market will bounce back and that the East European markets will also grow. St Petersburg is a very convenient place for such projects because it stands by the sea, and so can deliver cars both to the CIS and to Eastern and Western Europe. It is a very convenient location indeed, above all because investment conditions are being created in Russia at the federal and regional levels.

I have recently been to Japan, where I met with the country's political and business leaders. I saw our Japanese friends' interest in organising joint projects. This sphere of our cooperation will create conditions for resolving any issues, however difficult they may seem now.

I would like to congratulate everyone who was involved in this project. I want to congratulate the personnel with the beginning of the plant's full-scale operation. I wish you every success.

Thank you.

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin toured the Nissan assembly plant in St Petersburg

Mr Putin was taken on a tour of the plant's initial and final assembly, painting and quality control shops, and was shown the system for checking the quality of welding operations.

After the ceremony of commissioning the plant, Mr Putin accepted a ride in the first batch car assembled at the plant at the invitation of Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Company.

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After a tour of the Nissan assembly plant in St Petersburg, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin answered questions from journalists

Question: What are your first impressions?

Vladimir Putin: Very good. This is a good and beautiful, quality car. And what is most important, there are plans to increase localization, meaning the share of components produced in Russia.

Mr Ghosn and I have discussed one more area of cooperation between the VAZ partners.

Yesterday I announced that I had signed a Government Resolution on allocating 25 billion roubles, or some $700 million, to VAZ. We did it in coordination with Renault and in a way that would not undermine the foreign partner's position and share in the joint venture. I believe this is very important during the current crisis. We also see that our partners, in this case Renault, also understand the situation.

Therefore, we will move in several directions. The Russian Government has a development strategy for the automotive industry, and is implementing it despite current difficulties.

You know about our latest acquisition connected with Opel. It represents another promising area, where our partner is Magna, a leading global producer of auto components. It has prepared a very good scenario for restructuring Opel that involves the preservation of its German plants. This is very important because they have highly skilled personnel. Magna has proposed a very good development plan for the company. It is working in close contact with the provinces' administrations and trade unions.

There are two Opel plants in Russia, one in St Petersburg and the other at VAZ, which is making Chevrolet Niva cars. This is also very important for us. The strategy I have mentioned, the automobile industry development strategy, will be implemented in accordance with the targeted plan.

Question: Mr Putin, can you compare this car to the Niva you have recently bought?

Vladimir Putin: Niva is a different kind of car...

Journalist: Thank you.