Hyundai and Toyota are still keeping the intrigue, but they probably have no idea where to get the semiconductors that fell under the sanctions.
The Japanese management of Nissan sent the St. Petersburg plant, ready to restart the conveyor the other day, for an annual downtime. Parallel imports against politics proved powerless.
The fact that the Nissan plant in St. Petersburg will probably not come out of idle time until April 2023 was announced by the company’s CEO Makoto Uchida. A statement by a top manager on May 13 quoted the publication automotive news.
“We have to assume that operations will be suspended for a year,” said Makoto Uchida. The head of the corporation also noted that Nissan had already “written off” its Russian business in the forecast for this fiscal year, which will end on March 31, 2023.
Nissan estimated losses from Russian and Ukrainian operations at 52.6 billion yen ($499 million) in the past financial year. The top manager did not give forecasts for the next year. But the company believes that the lack of sales in Russia could have a “material impact” on the company’s overall results next year and possibly beyond. “There are many uncertainties regarding geopolitical issues related to Russia and Ukraine, which could have a material impact on the group’s financial position and results for the financial year,” the company said in a statement.
Nissan announced the shutdown of its plant in St. Petersburg on March 7, 2022. The official reason is lack of components. According to Fontanka, the enterprise expected resume production as early as April, but the restart has been postponed. The last time employees received an invitation to go to work from May 4 in one shift, but the restart was postponed to May 16, and then to the 23rd. However, the interlocutors of our publication, close to the enterprise, believe that, given the latest statement by the global leadership, this date is also in question.
The press service of the St. Petersburg Automobile Plant did not answer Fontanka’s question about production plans. The Labor and Employment Committee reported that the notice of downtime had been filed until May 13, but did not rule out that the company would extend it early next week.
At the plant in St. Petersburg, Nissan assembles Qashqai, X-Trail and Murano SUVs. In 2021, the revenue of Nissan Manufacturing Rus amounted to 100 billion rubles. For the first time since 2012, the Russian “daughter” of the Japanese concern made a profit – 2.9 billion rubles. Tax payments to the city budget amounted to about 350 million rubles.
Since the beginning of the year, Nissan has sold 11,750 vehicles in Russia, which is a third less than a year earlier. In April alone, the company sold only 605 vehicles, which is 84% worse than a year earlier. However, the entire automotive market as a whole fell by 78.5%.
Simultaneously with Nissan, two other automobile plants of the Northern capital, Toyota and Hyundai, went into idle time. The latter took along with him his numerous suppliers of auto components, the production of which was localized in the Russian Federation. According to Fontanka, while idle time at the plant of Hyundai and its partners announced until June.
The head of the industrial policy committee, Kirill Soloveichik, did not comment on the prospects for restarting enterprises. In March 2022, all three St. Petersburg automobile plants, according to Petrostat, produced only 6.1 thousand cars, which is 83% less than a year earlier. According to the results of the first quarter, production fell by a third – to 62.8 thousand cars. April figures are likely to tend to zero.
It is curious that the list of goods allowed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade for import into Russia under the parallel import model, that is, without the consent of the copyright holders, includes Nissan and Toyota cars and their components, while Hyundai cars and spare parts for them missing.
Participants in the automotive market note that there is no clarity among the management of enterprises, as conflicting signals come from global headquarters. And the situation is largely determined by political trends. “Today everything is in order, but tomorrow everything has changed. Everyone is sitting with crystal balls, guessing, ”says the interlocutor of the publication.
Lists of goods for parallel imports may depend on the degree of localization, and Hyundai, as the most localized manufacturer, may not need such supplies, the source notes. However, according to another source in the market, the most scarce commodity now is semiconductors, which fell under sanctions as a dual-use product. Will the production of cars use chips for dishwashers and refrigerators, which, according to American The Ministry of Industry is already putting it on Russian tanks with might and main, time will tell.
Adds problems and another coronavirus lockdown in China. For example, AvtoVAZ, which had already agreed with companies from Asia on the supply of components, could not receive them on time, and was forced to go into idle time again.
It is possible that Russian enterprises are trying to reduce the requirements for the level of localization required to receive state support. “The requirements were unrealistic in peacetime and now they have not been reduced, although certain groups of components are not localizable in principle,” the source of the publication notes.
Another market source knows that one of the automakers from the CIS countries received an offer to buy a Nissan plant. However, it was made not by the official representative of the company, but by an intermediary, so it is difficult to assess how much the management of the concern is really interested in the deal. In any case, if the sale goes through, production of Nissan cars is unlikely to resume. “The Russian plant depends on global supply chains. Nissan can still introduce something, but how will the buyer negotiate, ”the source of the publication says.
Galina Boyarkova, Fontanka.ru