Volkswagen has confirmed that it has halted production at its Kaluga facility in Russia for five working days to adjust volumes because of a continued sales slump in the country. Western sanctions and a weak ruble have damaged demand in the country. VW brand sales were down 20% through September, though the Skoda division faired less badly, with sales down 2%.
The plant, which has an annual capacity of around 156,000 vehicles, shut down on October 30.
“As a measure of flexibility the shutdown in Kaluga will be around the Russian public holidays on November 3 and 4, and will end on November 7,” said a spokesperson for VW Group Rus. “The shutdown days will be used for the necessary annual stocktaking.”
It is the second production stop the company has implemented at the plant this autumn having halted production for ten days back in September.
The €500m ($624m) plant builds the VW Tiguan and Polo, and the Skoda Fabia. The VW Touareg and Multivan are also produced there from semi-knockdown kits. VW also produces vehicles in collaboration with Gaz Group at the Russian carmaker’s plant in Nizhny Novgorod.
“Volkswagen Group is fully committed to the Russian market and is consecutively fulfilling its investment programme in Russia,” added the spokesperson. “A new body shop was opened at the Kaluga factory in 2014; the engine plant in Kaluga and new master depot in Moscow region are being built and will start operating in 2015.”