The Russian car market is having a difficult time right now because of the economic crisis triggered by western-led sanctions and lower oil prices. Automakers are either scaling down or stopping their operations in Russia, with Toyota the latest to announce a production cut.
The Japanese automaker said it had stopped building Land Cruiser Prado SUVs at the assembly plant in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. The vehicles had been built under a joint venture with Japanese trading firm Mitsui & Co and Russian automaker Sollers but production was stopped in late June, a Toyota spokeswoman said.
She added that Toyota is now exporting about 1,030 Prados per month to Russia from its plant in Tahara, Japan. That’s about the same number previously assembled at the Vladivostok plant.
Toyota has no plans to pull out of the country, saying it aims to double vehicle output to 100,000 units per year at its other Russian plant in St. Petersburg by the end of 2015.
“There will be waves in the market but we as Toyota want to increase sales, not shrink,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.
Automakers have been struggling to maintain sales in Russia, a once-booming market. Vehicle sales have fallen by 50 percent from their peaks in 2012 and 2013 as lower oil prices and Western sanctions over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis led to an economic crisis.
Note: Toyota Land Cruiser Prado pictured