Opel to Manufacture Cars in Russia

Cars will be sold in Russia and other former Soviet states

GM's European unit Opel will produce Astra model cars in Russia after it is bought by Canadian auto parts maker Magna and Russian lender Sberbank, Opel's chairman said on Sept. 16.

Opel chairman Hans Demant told Polish daily Rzeczpospolita that Opel was not planning to shut an Astra IV plant in Poland and move production to Russia, adding: "But actually we're planning to also produce the Astra in Russia."

"The cars that that will be produced in these factories will be sold in Russia and other former Soviet states" and parts for the cars will be made in western Europe and by sub-contractors in Poland, Demant said.

General Motors last week agreed to sell a majority stake in all of its European operations except for the Swedish brand Saab to Magna and Sberbank, two months after GM emerged from bankruptcy.

GM Europe already has three assembly lines in Russia employing 986 people.

Magna has said it will be forced to cut up to 10,500 jobs at the loss-making company, which employs more than 50,000 people across Europe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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