Toyota today announced that it will end vehicle production at its plant in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The decision follows the automaker’s decision to suspend activities at the plant in March.
Toyota said in a statement today that it paused production at the plant on March 4 “due to interruption in the supply of key materials and parts.” It did so, however, with the expectation that work at the plant that builds the RAV4 and Camry could someday resume. In fact, it retained its workforce to ensure that the facility could restart quickly.
Now, though, after waiting for six months, it says it sees no indications that the circumstances are improving in Russia. As a result, Toyota has taken the decision to let its workforce go, and it has no intentions of resuming operations at the plant.
“The decision to terminate production of Toyota vehicles in Russia is not one that we have taken lightly,” the automaker said in a statement. “However, after six months, we have not been able to resume normal activities and see no indication that we can re-start in the future.”
Toyota is not pulling out of the market completely, though. It has no intention of building vehicles in Saint Petersburg, but it will ensure that its operations in Moscow are “optimized and restructured.” It will focus on retaining staff to support its retail network and serve existing Toyota and Lexus customers.
“We would like to thank our employees for their hard work and loyalty,” wrote Toyota in a statement. “In recognition of their valued contribution, we will be offering them assistance for re-employment, re-skilling and well-being, including financial support above legal requirements.”
Toyota was one of a number of automakers that paused or stopped work at its Russian plants in March. The decisions followed the country’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent trade embargoes imposed on it.
Russia’s automotive industry was heavily reliant on foreign investment and, in August, auto sales were down more than 60 percent, as compared to August 2021. In July, meanwhile, sales in the country were down nearly 75 percent, reports Reuters.