Journal De Bruxelles - Top carmakers suspend operations at Russian plants

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Top carmakers suspend operations at Russian plants
Top carmakers suspend operations at Russian plants

Top carmakers suspend operations at Russian plants

Toyota and Volkswagen, the world's two biggest auto manufacturers, said Thursday they would suspend operations at their production facilities in Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine.

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Toyota said it would halt work at its only factory in Russia and stop shipping vehicles to the country, citing "supply chain disruptions" linked to Moscow's assault on Ukraine and Western sanctions.

The world's top-selling carmaker said its plant in Saint Petersburg produced around 80,000 vehicles last year, mainly for the Russian market -- representing just a fraction of the 10.5 million vehicles made worldwide by the Japanese group.

Toyota's Saint Petersburg plant employs around 2,600 people, a spokeswoman told AFP, confirming the supply disruption was linked to the conflict.

Toyota has no factories in Ukraine but said sales operations in the country had been suspended since February 24, when Moscow launched its assault.

German group Volkswagen also said in a statement it was suspending production at its two plants in Russia "until further notice", as a result of the invasion.

Volkswagen, which had already announced a stop to deliveries to Russia, employs around 4,000 people between its two plants in Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod.

Fellow German car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and BMW have also idled production in Russia, as well as halting vehicle exports to the country.

Western governments, sporting organisations and big companies have cut Russia off or dealt it punishing sanctions over the internationally condemned attack.

Other Japanese firms also announced Thursday that they were halting or altering business as a result of the situation.

Honda said it had suspended all exports to Russia "until further notice", though the firm only exports around 3,000 cars and motorbikes a year to the country.

Mazda, which sold around 29,000 vehicles in Russia last year, said it had stopped reserving containers for shipments to the country and would continue operating its joint venture factory in Vladivostok until parts run out.

Others were more cautious, with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors saying they were reviewing the situation.

Japanese airlines are also being forced to adapt to tit-for-tat airspace closures, with Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways cancelling some routes and rerouting others to avoid Russia, adding hours to some flights.