The Japanese automaker kept its commitment to locally produce its popular RAV4 model and it announced August as the starting month for building the SUV in Russia.
Toyota Motor said in 2013 it would invest to expand capacity at its St. Petersburg plant in Russia where it would start assembling its popular RAV4 in 2016, which was the company’s best-selling model in the country. The Japanese carmaker currently produces the Camry model in Russia for the local market, as well for Kazakhstan and Belarus. Toyota announced on Monday it would also build the SUV from August this year. This closely follows the announcement made 2 weeks ago on the start of production of the new Toyota C-HR at the Turkish plant, and its engines – at Deeside plant in United Kingdom, at the end of the year. Therefore, RAV 4 will become the ninth model currently made by Toyota in Europe, along with Avensis, Auris, Yaris, AYGO, Camry, Corolla, Verso and Toyota C-HR, and it comes after an additional 7.1 billion rubles (90.1 million euros) investment in the facility, bringing the total expenditure in the plant to 18.2 billion rubles (233 million euros).
Preparations at the plant included enlargement of manufacturing shops, expansion of production lines, installation of new equipment in all shops, including automation of body welding line and installation of equipment to increase automation in assembly and stamping shops. Total production capacity was therefore doubled from 50 to 100 thousand cars per year.
In 2015, Toyota had a record total market share in Russia of 7.5 percent, but with a 39 percent plunge in sales, from 161,954 in 2014 to 98,149 vehicles last year. RAV4 managed to hit 27,102 units sold in 2015, down from 38,919 models in 2014. In the first two months of 2016, the automaker’s SUV is the 6th best-selling car in Russia with 5,873 units.