Russia restarts production Citroën C5 bypassing Stellantis

For the first time since the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, a Russian factory has rebooted the manufacture of a Western car model. The automotive plant in Kaluga has officially started churning out Citroën C5 Aircross models for the local market. Citroën-owner Stellantis admits having lost control in the region.

The PSMA Rus facility, as the plant in Kalunga is called, has been restarting operations under a certain secrecy as of December last year. Because of a component and supply shortage caused by the war, the factory has been halting production since Stellantis suspended operations in April 2022.

It had come to light that, behind the screens, the factory had resumed activity, but the exact identity of the car model remained undisclosed—though anonymous sources pointed to Citroën.

First European car available

Russian news agency TASS has officially announced that Kaluga manufactures Citroën C5 Aircross models. The facility first tested a batch of 48 units late last year and is now fully ready to start mass-producing the model. According to Director for Strategic Development at Automobile Technologies Pavel Bezruchenko, the Kaluga-built C5 Aircross models will be available mid-May.

Until now, Russia has not produced a single model from the European vehicle sector. This is the first time Russian customers will get access to a European car model after inventories were exhausted in the wake of the military conflict.

The Russian-made Citroëns don’t reflect an embargo-disloyalty at Stellantis. Automobile Technologies imports these kits containing all the parts from China through Stellantis’ local commercial partner, Dongfeng.

The latter is allowed to build and market models from the car group in China. Beijing isn’t supportive of the embargo rules, and automotive exports to Russia have increased sevenfold since Western automakers retreated from the country.

Victim of global strategy

Building blocks and parts of the Citroën C5 Aircross reaching Russia through a Chinese gateway show how vulnerable car makers are due to their globalized strategies. According to the news agency Reuters, Stellantis acknowledged that it had “lost control of its entities in Russia.”

Unlike other car makers, the European-American car group hasn’t handed the Kaluga plant to the local authorities. It remains the major shareholder in a bid to reinstall complete control in future peacetime. Automobile Technologies, a Russian importer, distributor, and manufacturer of vehicles, rents the plant.

Before Stellantis idled the factory, PSMA Rus assembled a wide array of models from the multi-branded group: Peugeot 408, Traveller, Expert, Partner and Partner Crossway, Opel Combo Cargo, Combo Life, Zafira Life and Vivaro, Citroen С4, SpaceTourer, Jumpy, Berlingo Multispace and Berlingo. Kaluga is the Russian epicenter for automotive production.


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