Volkswagen is looking for investors to take over its factory in Kaluga, southwest of Moscow. The plant has sat idle since Russia invaded Ukraine and sanctions were implemented by much of Europe and the U.S.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung first reported on the potential sale, citing an unnamed plant manager who said that “With each stage of escalation, the probability that we will be able to produce there again in the foreseeable future decreases.”
The automaker, therefore, is said to be looking at various scenarios for its future in Russia. Although VW told Automotive News Europe that no decision has been reached, one option is reportedly to simply sell its assets to a third party.
More: Nissan Exits Russian Market, Sells Operations And Factories To NAMI For 98 Cents
One unnamed source close to the Volkswagen supervisory board said that “there is a clear will for us to withdraw from the country.” With local demand collapsing, practical considerations may help inform the company’s final decision.
In July, Volkswagen shut down operations at its other Russian plant in Nizhny Novgorod, following reports that it was paying employees to quit the factory a month earlier. Although owned by the automaker, the plant was operated under contract by GAZ.
Volkswagen’s Kaluga plant, meanwhile, was operated by the German automaker and produced the VW Tiguan and the Skoda Octavia. Founded in 2009, the opening was attended by then-CEO MArtin Winterkorn, who was later associated with the Dieselgate scandal, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who flew by the plant in a helicopter and praised the “patriotic production.” At its peak, Kaluga was operated by 4,200 employees and was the recipient of €1 billion ($978 million USD at current exchange rates) in investments.
Volkswagen is just the latest automaker to pull out of the Russian market. Earlier this month, Nissan sold its factory and, in September, Toyota officially shut down its Saint Petersburg plant.