Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, General Motors has suspended all operations in Russia as part of a larger wave of corporate action against Moscow in line with Western government sanctions. Even though the company doesn’t have any plants there, GM said it’s suspending all vehicle exports to Russia until further notice.
According to Reuters, the Detroit-based automaker sells roughly 3,000 vehicles in Russia annually, while supply-chain exposure is said to be minimal. GM hasn’t had a significant presence in Russia since it pulled out of a joint venture with Russia’s largest automaker, AvtoVaz, back in 2019. Under the previous plan, GM produced the Chevrolet Niva at a factory in Togliatti.
Russia’s car market was one of the best performers in Europe before sanctions were applied in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea. The Russian car market hasn’t really recovered since. The Detroit Free Press reports GM operates a Moscow-based sales company that facilitates the sale of vehicles from General Motors North American plants to Russia and other Easter European markets. The office in Moscow employs 67 people.
GM’s focus in Russia is tailored towards the premium end of the market with imported North American-made products like the Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV, and the Chevrolet Traverse and Trailblazer crossovers. Cadillac vehicles available include the Escalade full-size SUV, alongside the XT4, XT5, and XT6 crossovers. GM previously sold the Chevrolet Camaro in Russia but the project was discontinued in 2020, before offering up a special edition for the region. The C8 Corvette is unofficially available there through grey market channels.
Crosstown rival, Ford Motor Company, has significantly more exposure to the Russian market than GM. The company announced it would be suspending operations of its joint venture project with Russian automaker Sollers. The Ford Sollers JV is responsible for the production of several variants of the Ford Transit commercial van sold locally. Ford is also making a $100,000 donation to the Global Giving Ukraine Relief Fund, in order to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.