Despite the decline of the Russian auto industry, BMW plans to increase its local portfolio and production by 2019. Initially BMW planned for its plant in Russia, but that plan has been postponed in favor of expanding cooperation with Avtotor, a contract assembler for BMW. Avtotor is launching a new automotive cluster in the Kaliningrad region with initial capacity of 100,000 cars, and some may be BMW models.
BMW originally planned to open its own plant in 2015 and build 55,000 cars a year, raising capacity to 80,000 units by 2017. More than half of the cars BMW sold last year in Russia were assembled by Avtotor.
Russia remains a key market for xDrive models like the X5 and X6, and BMW hopes that SUV sales will help its bottom line this year.
BMW sales declined 22.6% from prior-year in 2015 and were down 22.5% through February.