General Motors Co. (GM) will halt production at its St. Petersburg plant for a month this summer, two weeks longer than originally planned, partly due to a slowdown in demand in the Russian auto market, a spokesman said Wednesday.
"We are adjusting our plans according to market demand and taking into account the market's recent correction," said spokesman Sergey Lepnukhov.
Sales of cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia fell 12% on the year in May and are now 4% behind last year's record pace, according to the Association of European Businesses in Russia. Earlier this week, the association lowered its annual sales forecast by 5% to 2.8 million vehicles. In 2012, Russians bought 2.935 million cars, a gain of 11% from the year before. In January, the AEB had predicted auto sales in 2013 would rise marginally to 2.95 million vehicles.
Overall, GM Group's sales were down 8% in the first five months of 2013 compared with the same period last year, the AEB said. Sales of the Opel Astra, which is produced at the St. Petersburg factory, fell 33% during the period.
Mr. Lepnukhov said the extended production halt, from July 22 to Aug. 24, was also partly due to plans to expand capacity at the plant from 98,000 cars a year to 230,000 cars a year by 2015.
Last summer, GM closed the plant for two weeks for its annual holiday. Most Russian auto plants, as well as many auto factories abroad, close for two weeks in the summer.
News source: FOX News Network
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