DaimlerChrysler AG is selling the tooling for the outgoing Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus sedans to Russia's Gorky Automotive Works, or GAZ.
GAZ plans to take possession of the tooling after the upcoming model changeover at DaimlerChrysler's Sterling Heights, Mich., plant in May. East Coast Trading Co., a U.S. exporter, plans to ship the equipment to Russia.
The Sterling Heights plant is getting a $278 million makeover, adding flexible-assembly equipment to build the next-generation Sebring and Stratus and a small vehicle line as well, said Dave Elshoff, a DaimlerChrysler spokesman. He declined to disclose a price for the deal with Gorky.
GAZ will have the rights to produce the vehicles in Russia and all the Commonwealth of Independent States. But GAZ will not be allowed to sell them as Chrysler and Dodge brands. GAZ sells cars under the Volga and Gazelle brands. The company builds 250,000 vehicles a year and has 18 percent of the Russian market.
"In DaimlerChrysler, we found a good source of plant tools," Erik Eberhardson, vice president and chief strategy officer for GAZ, said in a press release. GAZ also signed a multiyear supply agreement to buy 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines from the Chrysler group's engine plant in Saltillo, Mexico.
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