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Carmakers hit the brakes on Russia as sanctions bite

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·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·4-min read
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Carmakers hit the brakes on Russia as sanctions bite
A model poses at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Moscow, Russia in 2017. Global carmakers have joined a growing list of companies looking to exit the country. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty

Global carmakers have joined a growing list of companies looking to exit Russia as international sanctions aimed at crippling Moscow’s economy start to bite.

Daimler Truck (DTG.DE) is freezing its business activities in the country, including its cooperation with Russian truck maker Kamaz (KMAZ.ME).

The world’s largest truck maker said that no more trucks will be built under Daimler's joint partnership with Kamaz, and no more components will be supplied to it.

Kamaz was established under the Soviet Union and separately makes utility vehicles for Russia’s military. The partnership with Daimler was limited to civilian vehicles.

"We will comply with all measures taken by the German government and the EU," Daimler said on Twitter.

Mercedes-Benz Group (MBG.DE) is also looking into legal options to divest its 15% stake in Kamaz as quickly as possible, Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper reported.

Mercedes-Benz has a factory outside of Moscow.

Read more: Mastercard and Visa block Russian financial institutions after new sanctions

Volvo (VOLCAR-B.ST) said that it would halt business in Russia until further notice. The Swedish brand explained that the decision had been made because of "potential risks associated with trading material with Russia, including the sanctions imposed by the EU and US".

"Volvo Cars will not deliver any cars to the Russian market until further notice," the company said in a statement. Volvo sold around 9,000 cars in Russia in 2021.

Truck maker AB Volvo, which is independent of the car company, said it had halted production at its factory in Russia and stopped sales in the country due to the Ukraine crisis.

Employees at a Volkswagen factory work on an assembly line in the city of Kaluga, 188 km (117 miles) southwest of Moscow, October 20, 2009. Volkswagen's subsidiary in Russia is launching full-cycle production of cars in the city of Kaluga, RIA Novosti news agency reported. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin  (RUSSIA BUSINESS TRANSPORT)
Employees at a Volkswagen factory work on an assembly line in the city of Kaluga, Russia in 2009. Volkswagen could also be hurt by sanctions against Russia, as it has a factory in Kaluga that employs 4,000 people. Photo: Alexander Natruskin/Reuters

Volkswagen (VOW3.DE), the second largest car maker in the world, temporarily paused the delivery of cars already in Russia to local dealerships

The news, reported by Russia’s RIA, said Audi has stopped selling cars that are already with dealers in Russia so it can adjust the price of the vehicles to reflect the decline in the value of the rouble.

Volkswagen could also be hurt by sanctions against Russia, as it has had a factory there since 2009 that employs about 4,000 people producing its Tiguan and Polo models, as well as the Audi Q8 and Q9, and the Skoda Rapid.

Separately, Volkswagen decided to halt production for a few days this week at two German factories after a delay in getting parts made in Ukraine.

Jaguar Land Rover has paused the delivery of its cars to Russia due to "trading challenges". The car maker, which produces Jaguar cars and Land Rover and Range Rover sport utility vehicles, sold 6,900 vehicles to Russia last year.

Read more: Explainer: How economic sanctions work

"The current global context also presents us with trading challenges, so we are pausing the delivery of vehicles into the Russian market and continually monitoring the situation on behalf of our global customer base," the UK’s biggest car manufacturer, owned by Indian company Tata Motors (TTM), said in a statement.

Renault (RNO.PA) said it was shutting its plant near Moscow that makes vehicles including the Kaptur and Duster models due to logistics issues caused by the sanctions. Russia is the Renault group’s second-biggest market by sales volumes.

Renault owns a 68% shareholding in AvtoVAZ, owner of Russia's most famous car brand Lada.

US carmaker GM (GM) said it would suspend all vehicle exports to Russia until further notice. The company does not have plants in Russia and only sells about 3,000 vehicles annually there.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine at this time," GM said in a statement. "The loss of life is a tragedy and our overriding concern is for the safety of people in the region."

Ford (F) and BMW (BMW.DE) are said to be monitoring the situation but so far have not decided on any action.

The moves are part of a broader re-evaluation by Western companies of their businesses in Russia, with some reducing their operations there or deciding to leave entirely, following escalating sanctions by the west.

Read more: What Ukraine invasion means for consumer prices in the UK

Danish shipping giant Maersk (MAERSK-B.CO) said it would stop taking new, non-essential orders to and from Russia, due to sanctions imposed over the Ukraine invasion.

Shipping company MSC has also stopped cargo bookings to and from Russia, apart from food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods.

Facebook parent Meta (FB) barred Russian state media from running ads or making money on its platform worldwide. Alphabet’s Google (GOOG) did the same.

BP (BP.L) and Shell (SHEL.L) have announced they will exit their investments in Russia, along with Norway's $1.3tn (£972bn) sovereign wealth fund and Australia's $143bn (£106bn) future fund.

Watch: Exodus: western companies abandon Russia

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