Stellantis suspends vehicle production in Russia

Carmaker Stellantis said on Tuesday it was suspending production at its Russian plant due to logistical difficulties and sanctions imposed on Moscow.

The world’s fourth-largest automaker, which produced and sold the Peugeot, Citroёn, Opel, Jeep, and Fiat brands in Russia, has just one percent of the country’s car market.

It runs a van-making plant in Kaluga, around 201 kilometers south-east of Moscow, co-owned with Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi, which halted production at the facility earlier this month.

“Given the rapid daily increase in cross sanctions and logistical difficulties, Stellantis has suspended its manufacturing operations in Kaluga to ensure full compliance with all cross sanctions and to protect its employees,” Stellantis said in a statement.

The plant employs 2,700 people.

The company will continue to pay salaries through a local downtime scheme and by using anticipated vacation periods, Stellantis told Reuters.

It said it did not know how long the stoppage would last, adding its priority was its staff and the return of peace.

Stellantis had already suspended all exports and imports of vehicles with Russia, following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, moving production to western Europe. It had also said it was freezing plans for more investments in the country. Van production in Kaluga had remained just for the local market.

Scores of foreign companies have announced temporary shutdowns of stores and factories in Russia or said they were leaving the country for good since Russia began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24.

Stellantis Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said in late March the group would have to close the Kaluga plant shortly as it was running out of parts.

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