Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits SOLLERS – Far East automotive plant and attends the opening ceremony


Mr Putin inspected the enterprise's assembly workshop and was shown several new passenger car models, including Ssang Yong crossover vehicles and UAZ Patriot SUVs, to be assembled at the plant. He was also shown several other truck and passenger car models, including dump trucks, concrete mixers and prime movers, which will also be manufactured here.

Prime Minister Putin was also shown Fiat Ducato cars, currently being assembled at a SOLLERS plant in Tatarstan.

The plant's General Director Vadim Shvetsov showed the first UAZ Patriot Limited SUV, which has already been assembled at this plant in the Primorye Territory. Mr Shvetsov reminded Mr Putin that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wanted to buy the first such car, and that this custom-made Golden Metallic vehicle had been custom-made for him. "We are giving him a 10% discount, as we promissed", Mr Shvetsov said.

After examining the car, Mr Putin and Mr Shvetsov climbed inside another vehicle. Mr Putin started the engine, let warm up for about a minute, and drove several metres inside the workshop towards a group of waiting workers.

Prime Minister Putin told corporate workers that the global financial and economic crisis had dealt the most severe blow against the automotive industry and several other global economic sectors. "The situation inside the automotive industry, including this industry in Russia, was extremely alarming. The automotive industry posted the greatest losses during the recession," Mr Putin said.

In this connection, Mr Putin stressed that the Government had implemented a number of measures to support the national automotive industry. He said this was a particularly sensitive issue for Russia's Far East, which was linked with higher foreign car import duties and the situation at numerous regional car-importing companies.

"Expanding production was the only option for us in this sphere. Your plant is the first, but hopefully not the last, enterprise," Prime Minister Putin told the workers.

Mr Putin stressed that the commissioning of this production facility meant the start of a new life, a new qualification, as well as stable work and wages. "Moreover, this implies individual development, rather than working for an employer. Your enterprise will enable the region to expand its own tax base. Consequently, there will be funding and opportunities for expanding social facilities, the road network and lots more," Prime Minister Putin said.

Mr Putin stressed that the enterprise had been built in six months. "This is a record-breaking time period. This would have been impossible without your striving for top-quality work," Putin said, wishing every success to the workers.

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