BMW’s Russian partner Avtotor will be responsible for assembling the new BMW X4 in Russia from kits shipped from the automaker’s Spartanburg plant.
BMW already builds seven models at Avtotor’s Kaliningrad plant from semi-knockdown kit and the X4 production will be exclusively sold in Russia. Avtotor builds the 3-, 5- and 7-series sedans for BMW, together with the X1, X3, X5 and X6 SUV. Avtotor also produces vehicles for Opel, Chevrolet and Kia.
BMW had postponed a decision on building its own plant in Russia because of the uncertainty caused by the economic crisis, especially with new-car sales declining 38 percent this year.
Historically, the Russian car market has been favoring the sales of X models, with lots of large BMW SUVs being purchased in the last few years.
While other automakers are idling or completely stop production in Russian factories, premium automakers like BMW and Mercedes are betting on a market rebound which will benefit them.
Last year, Avtotor built 25,000 vehicles for BMW. In 2015, output is expected to fall to 21,000.