Avilon and AFK Sistema bid for Volkswagen plant in Kaluga

Auto dealer holdingAvilon» i AFK Sistema considered as contenders for the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga, three sources close to the upcoming deal told Vedomosti. The key one at the moment is Avilon, two of them know. The final decision on the buyer should be made on March 3, the interlocutors say.

A third source notes that the exact date of the announcement of information about the deal is still unknown, and the date of signing the documents has not been determined.

Prior to this, on March 1, he wrote about Avilon’s interest in the German brand’s car factory RBC. In early February 2023, Kommersant wrote about Sistema’s interest in the Volkswagen site in Kaluga. According to the publication, Allur, a company from Kazakhstan, which, among other things, is engaged in the production of cars and has Chinese shareholders associated with the release of Volkswagen in China, may be involved in the deal.

According to one of Vedomosti’s sources, the sale of the German concern’s plant must be approved by the government commission for foreign investment. He is not aware of Volkswagen’s application for consideration of this issue.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and considering various scenarios for further developments. One option is to sell the assets of Volkswagen Group Rus to a third party. However, a decision on this matter has not yet been made, ”emphasizes a representative of the company.

The Volkswagen plant in the Grabtsevo technopark near Kaluga was launched in the SKD mode in 2007. Two years later, it switched to full-cycle car production, including welding, painting and assembly. This enterprise can produce up to 225,000 cars per year. In 2015, a plant for the production of 1.6-liter engines was opened there (capacity – 150,000 per year). Before the downtime, which has been going on since March 2022, the Kaluga site produced compact Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Rapid cars, as well as the Volkswagen Tiguan crossover.

As reported in the public of the ASM Volkswagen trade union on VK, on ​​February 28, the tariff agreement with the plant employees was extended until the end of the collective agreement – that is, until September 2024. Thus, the workers retain all guarantees for additional payments, vacations, voluntary medical insurance and etc. “We plan to initiate the negotiation process on the indexation of salaries after it becomes known who will become the new owner of the plant,” the union said in a statement.

The case when a local dealer holding claims for a car plant of a foreign brand in Russia is not a precedent. So, at the end of last year, Mercedes sold its car plant in the Moscow region with a capacity of 25,000 cars a year to the car dealer Avtodom (Vedomosti wrote about this on October 25). One of the interlocutors said then that a serious candidate for this asset was also “Avilon“. The cost of the facility at the site in the Esipovo industrial park was estimated by experts in the range from 4 to 7.5 billion rubles.

Vedomosti sent questions to Avilon, AFK Sistema and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

In any case, the new owner will need to find an industrial partner for the project, notes auto expert Vladimir Bespalov. According to him, there are not very many options – “most likely, China again.” Whether this will be a joint venture with the Chinese car manufacturer Volkswagen or another partner is still difficult to say, the expert explains. According to Bespalov, the market is not yet saturated and there are still large gaps in the middle price segment. According to him, the screwdriver assembly at the initial stage can be launched in a few months, deeper localization will take 2-3 years.

Ekaterina Kinyakina contributed to the preparation of the article

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