Veteran auto exec works to build big Russian supplier

MOSCOW – Volker Barth wants to establish a big Russian-owned partsmaker. He says that his vision is “to create a dominant Tier 1 supplier with penetration into all OEMs present in Russia.”

Barth, a veteran General Motors and Delphi executive, has been the Moscow-based CEO of RM Systems, which is part of the group that also controls Russia’s GAZ automotive group, since the middle of last year.

“My experience and contacts in the industry can help,” said Barth, who has been active in the international car industry for 40 years.

Speaking at the Adam Smith Russian Automotive Forum, Barth said the fast-growing Russian auto industry “needs a competitive and competent supplier structure.” One reason it doesn’t have this at the moment is the strong vertical integration of the Russian carmakers.

A stronger domestic Russian supplier industry will have to work together with international suppliers, Barth said. “We need to create partnerships with international partners,” he said.

Barth said the Russian car market is set to grow sharply in coming years, but he urged caution. “Optimism is extremely high, but things happen in the world,” he said. He cited uncertain conditions in the credit markets, changing priorities and tight financial resources as risk factors.

The priorities for the Russian industry, he said, include:

• Reduce vertical integration

• Build up a local supplier base

• Boost technology

• Improve quality

• Use better platforms

• Improve brand values.

You may e-mail Arjen Bongard at

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