‘Tatarstan will make another step forward’: Putin launches Aurus plant in Yelabuga

Putin launched Aurus plant via teleconference

The mass production of luxury Aurus cars started in Alabuga Special Economic Zone in Tatarstan. Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in the opening via teleconference.

Besides Putin, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Director General of Rostec GC Sergey Chemezov and Director General of Aurus LLC Adil Shirinov took part in the event. Addressing people who attended the opening ceremony, Putin set a task of localising the car from today’s 50% to 80% by early 2022.

“I remember how it all began, and I want to thank everybody who participated in this project, developed and equipped this production site. I am sure that the cars manufactured on its conveyor belt will be in demand. As you know, I use such cars and I have driven them myself many times. It is a truly worthy, high-quality car meeting all world standards,” Putin claimed.

According to him, a big work needs to be done to expand the activity of around 100 suppliers.

“We hope that the mass production of Aurus cars will reinforce the presence of Russian automobiles in the international market too, allow increasing exports of high-tech products. And of course, the opening of the production site in Tatarstan is another stimulus for the region’s development. Tatarstan is already one of our leaders in many indicators, but thanks to the appearance of modern jobs, a rise in taxes, which are necessary to perform social tasks, Tatarstan will make another step forward,” Putin noted.

This year, Aurus plans to produce about 300-350 cars with different modifications, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said. In the future, it is planned to make 5,000 samples a year. The head of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade added that Kazan Helicopters factory, which designed the Aurus on the site of Ansat lightweight helicopter, became the first enterprise in collaboration.

When Auruses will be made and where they will go

The first executive Aurus Senat cars made in Alabuga SEZ will be manufactured at the beginning of the next week. Director General of Aurus LLC Adil Shirinov said on 31 May before the launch of mass production. He says that the cars will be available in partner dealerships in June. 10 Sedan cars were assembled on the belt on the mass production opening day.

About $25 million were invested in setting up the production, Shirinov clarified. According to him, these investments aren’t made in the whole business but the industrial part that includes a welding station, the modernisation of the spray booth and the assembly plant. The business plan envisages that the project should pay back in less than 7 years, but the management of the company thinks the payback period can reduce to 6 years.

We should remind you that Aurus will be made in the existing plant of Sollers Ford factory. This plant appeared in Yelabuga in the last decade and was initially designed to manufacture commercial Fiat Ducato in partnership with Italy’s Fiat Auto. Later, Sollers that built the plant, terminated the partnership with the Italian company and signed a new one, with Ford. After that, Ford Kuga and Ford Explorer as well as Ford Transit were produced in the plant. In March 2019, Ford announced restructuring within which it closed the production of cars in Russia, only Ford Transit’s plant remained in Yelabuga.

“The project will certainly be profitable,” Shirinov said. “There is an opportunity to work on costs, while 6 years is quite a realistic term and a good term from a perspective of the world car industry.”

At the first stage, Yelabuga plans to produce a sedan of Aurus Senat with further production of Aurus Komendant (SUV), but the dates aren’t specified yet. The factory is designed for up to 5,000 cars a year in certain conditions.

Shirinov also added that by the end of the year Aurus Senat cars will be subject to authorisation to be used in Near Eastern markets. He says that the luxury brand, first of all, aims at international export markets, which will hold 70-80% of sales.

Firstly, we are talking about the UAE market where Tawazun Strategic Development Fund with 36% operates. The key effort will be concentrated on Near Eastern and North African countries, which includes 20 countries. “It is necessary to obtain authorisation till the end of the year, then enter the markets. Aurus schedules to join European markets after the Near East and Southeast Asia,” Shirinov specified.

It is planned to sell the rest of 20-30% of the volume in Russia.

The assembly plant in Alabuga SEZ will probably manufacture armoured Aurus cars.

“Heavy armour with the highest protection by the world’s standard will require modernisation,” Adil Shirinov explained. According to him, this is related to a heavier cabin, which should be assembled on a platform with a different load. “But light and medium armoured cars can be made, the plant can cope with it,” he assured the audience.

By Luiza Ignatyeva