BERLIN -- General Motors Europe will build high-volume Opels in Russia to help meet booming demand for Western cars in the country, GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster said.
Led by Opel and Chevrolet, Forster said GM expects to sell 1 million cars in Russia and former Soviet Union republics such as Ukraine by early next decade.
"We will produce Astras in Russia for Russia because they are high-volume vehicles now." Forster told Automotive News Europe during an interview here.
Astra sales in Russia are up 216 percent to 21,984 through 10 months, according to the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation.
Forster added that GM wants to produce next-generation Opel Corsas, Zafiras and Vectras in Russia.
"We have been overwhelmed by Opel's success in Russia," Forster said.
Most Opel models sold in Russia are imported as complete vehicles so they face a 25 percent import duty.
To avoid the tax and meet strong demand, GM and its Russian partners are discussing where to build high-volume Opels. "We are flexible about where we produce what," Forster said.