Hoping to attract international suppliers to its operation in Kaluga, Russia, Volkswagen Group Rus is taking a leading role in the development of a new industrial complex in the Grabtsevo industrial zone.
The carmaker has been allocated 800 hectares in the new ‘A-Park project’. Half of that space will be dedicated to VW suppliers with the goal of providing them with a production site in Kaluga without having to buy land. The other half is for the Kaluga plant expansion currently underway. The project is due for completion by 2012.
Four automotive suppliers will take part in the project in the first phase: Visteon, Benteler, Lear and Isoplast.
“At the beginning, the intention was that the suppliers would buy land from the region to establish production sites,” said VW Group Rus spokesperson Julia Karulina. “But the financial crisis has hit the suppliers even harder than the OEMs and their ability to invest in capital shrunk dramatically.
“As Volkswagen is extremely interested in international suppliers coming to Kaluga, the company worked on a scheme that allows suppliers to rent land without the danger of uncontrolled rate rises. A-park is the result of this work.”
The major investor is Russian real estate developer ESPRO. Also involved are the Kaluga Region Development Corporation, which is implementing the project, and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, currently in the process of approving its participation in the project.
ESPRO will construct the buildings for the first leaseholders until January 2010 and will then rent the buildings to them, Karulina told Automotive Logistics. “The participation of the region and of the EBRD guarantees us that the rent rates will be reasonable.”
Volkswagen is eager to increase local production in Kaluga to cut logistics costs and has actively taken part in negotiations. It is not investing in the A-park project but is making a total investment of €500m ($700m) in the Kaluga plant. The planned annual capacity this year is up to 150,000 units of the VW Passat, Golf, Jetta and Tiguan, as well as Skoda Octavia models, all from SKDs. The company says CKD production will start in September next year.
Car assembly components for the plant extension are being brought to Kaluga by TransContainer, a subsidiary of Russian Railways (RZD) and on the 8th July VW participated in celebrations for the 500th delivery.
DB Schenker is the TransContainer’s main partner for the transportation of components along the European route and in 2008 22,400 containers’ worth were brought from Brest (in Belarus) to Kaluga. So far this year 9,386 containers have been delivered. Both companies received best supplier awards from VW in June this year for the Kaluga project.
Following a deal signed in November 2007 with VW, Transcontainer carries components and car parts along Brest-Kaluga route using its own equipment. The train now covers the 2,005km from Mlada-Boleslav (Czech Republic) to Kaluga in four days.
The VW Kaluga plant is currently on a two-week summer shutdown.