Russia Makes Citroen Knock-Offs with Help From Chinese Partner

In 2022, Stellantis ceased exporting and producing cars in Russia along with other Western automakers in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. While the world thought the Russian auto market would collapse, following the departure of an array of International carmakers, the market there recovered sooner than expected thanks to Chinese automakers & their unprecedented support.

Related: Chinese Cars Now Have 55% Share of Russian Car Market

A Russian company called Automotive Technologies has started to assemble the Citroen C5 Aircross at the plant in Kaluga. The kits to assemble these vehicles were reportedly coming from Dongfeng, which has a commercial partnership with Stellantis in China. The first batch is said to be part of a pilot project, and the Kaluga plant (which is no longer controlled by Stellantis) will start mass production in 2024.

2023 Citroen C5 Aircross 1 2048x1152

In 2022, Russia also revived Moskvich, which sold rebranded JAC Motors vehicles that were assembled in Moscow using kits purchased from China. The resurrection of C5 Aircross production highlights the loss of control Western companies have experienced over their brands and property in Russia. Stellantis said that in December, it had “lost control of its entities” in Russia, despite holding various assets, including 70% of the Kaluga facility. The automaker stated that as a result, losses of €144 million (US$155 million) had been recorded.

Related: Russia Car Sales Increased by 69% in 2023

As Western companies lose control, Chinese automakers are stepping in, and make up more than 56% of the Russian market. That appears to be leveling off now that domestic manufacturing is recovering.

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