DETROIT -- Russia desperately needs world-class component suppliers to build its auto industry, but a challenging business climate and slow-moving bureaucracy make it tough to get them, according to a panel of experts on Russian trade.
In recent years, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have done business in Russia. Ford, which last year returned after a 50-year absence, now is building the Focus in a factory near St. Petersburg.
The Russian factory turns out about 25,000 cars a year, which it sells for $10,100. Experts on a panel at this month's SAE World Congress agreed that that price is about the maximum that Russians can spend for a Russian-built car.
The Focus cars are in such demand that there's a six-month wait for the vehicles, but the Focus is unique in Russia because of its quality and European styling. The demand doesn't extend to products of other new-vehicle producers in Russia.