RUSSIAN AUTOMOTIVE FORUM

OEMs: Russia needs more suppliers

MOSCOW – General Motors and the growing international auto industry in Russia need more high-quality suppliers in the country, a senior executive said Monday.

“We are building world-class facilities and need world-class suppliers,” said Heidi McCormack, director new business development for GM in Russia. Citing “an enormous amount of capacity” that will come online in Russia in coming years, she said: “We need suppliers, we need logistics, we need a lot of things to support our growth in Russia.”

Speaking at the Adam Smith Automotive Industry Forum here, McCormack called on international suppliers to speed up plans to come to Russia.

“You need to be in this market and there are not enough main suppliers in this market yet,” she said. “If you’re contemplating or planning to come to Russia, you’re probably already a little late.”

And she said: “If your company isn’t here, we cannot plan on you. We really need you in this market.”

McCormack said Russia is the second-biggest market in Europe for GM and its importance is set to grow. “Russia is a top-priority growth market for GM,” she said. And, after a moment of reflection, she said: “It is our top-priority growth market in the world.”

GM, whose Chevrolet brand is the best-selling foreign marque in the country, sold 270,000 cars in Russia in 2007. It had 130 dealers and expects to grow that total to 160 this year.

Speaking at the same conference, Nigel Brackenbury, president of Ford Russia, also urged suppliers that haven’t come to Russia yet to do so quickly. “I’m still surprised that some companies are still talking about a representative office here,” he said. “Take the step, stop the studies and get here.”

And in a further call to international suppliers, Brackenbury said: “Any of you not here yet, please come quickly!”

You may e-mail Arjen Bongard at abongard@craincom.de

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