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Fiat to build new plant in St. Petersburg

by Bill Cawthon on

Fiat is preparing to sign an agreement by March 2012 for the construction of a plant in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“Fiat has found a serious Russian partner,” said Alexey Chichkanov, head of the Investment Committee and the city’s strategic projects. “It will be a modern factory with large production volumes.”

The partner has not yet been identified; some sources close to the negotiations say it is Sberbank.

The Russian economic ministry announced last June Fiat would invest 1.1 billion euros in Russia to produce 120,000 cars per year. The new factory will help Fiat increase its presence in Russia, predicted to be one of the four fastest-growing economies over the next decade. The company will also be able to take advantage of government incentives for manufacturing development.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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