Mazda mulls Russia exit amid Ukraine war sanctions

TOKYO — Mazda is discussing ending production of its vehicles at a joint venture plant in Vladivostok, eastern Russia.

Mazda said its withdrawal is under discussion as it sees no path to restarting production in Russia, following reports in the Japanese media that the company had decided to pull out.

The Japanese automaker sold 30,000 cars in Russia last year.

Mazda said in March that exports of parts to the plant were going to end and production would cease when stocks ran out. It operates the plant with Russian automaker Sollers. Stollers said it is in talks to with Mazda to buy the Japenese automaker’s stake in the joint venture.

Mazda has not made a decision about ending car sales and maintenance operations in Russia, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday. There was no timeframe for stopping production at the Vladivostok plant, the paper said.

Mazda and Sollers began production at the factory in 2012 after Russia’s automotive market made a strong recovery from the financial crisis of 2009.

The factory builds the CX 5, Mazda 6 and a Sollers brand vehicle for the Russian market. Production capacity started at 50,000 units a year, with the aim of increasing annual output to 70,000.

Toyota said on Friday that will close its plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, amid shortages of key components and materials amid Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s auto market collapsed, with deliveries plunging more than 80 percent in the months of May and June.

Lada maker AvtoVAZ, which state entities took over from Renault, has increased its share of sales in recent months along with Chinese companies that have filled the void left by western and Japanese brands.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

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