MOSCOW, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Carmaker Stellantis,
which produces and sells the Peugeot, Citron, Opel, Jeep, Fiat
brands in Russia, will begin exporting locally-made light
commercial vehicles to Western Europe next month, it said on
Stellantis, the company formed from the merger of Fiat
Chrysler and Peugeot, has just 1% of the car market in Russia,
where it runs its Kaluga plant some 125 miles south-east of
Moscow with Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi.
On Tuesday, Stellantis said it planned to start exports of
its Peugeot Expert, Opel Vivaro and Citron Jumpy minivans to
Western Europe next month, as overall production of Peugeot,
Citroen and Opel cars at the Kaluga plant doubled in 2021.
Stellantis, which plans to start manufacturing the Fiat
Scudo minivan in Russia by the end of the year with the aim of
selling them abroad, wants to turn the Kaluga plant into an
export hub to supply engines and cars to Europe, Latin America
and North Africa.
Commercial vehicles produced in Russia would add to those
made in Stelllantis plants in the United Kingdom and France amid
growing demand for vans globally.
Sales of new cars in Russia are forecast to slow to 3.3%
this year from 4.3% in 2021, due to a global shortage of
electronic components, logistics challenges and higher costs,
pushing up car prices for Russian buyers.
On Tuesday, Stellantis mentioned none of these issues in its
statement, saying its overall sales in Russia, the market
dominated by Renault-controlled AvtoVaz, grew by 65%
This month, Washington has threatened wide-ranging sanctions
to deter Russia from invading Ukraine - a move Moscow denies -
potentially blocking the country's access to global electronic
supplies, further hampering the local car industry.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow,
additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris
Editing by Louise Heavens)