KAMAZ to change the signboard of ZF Kama following withdrawal of Germans

The auto giant puts an end to the divorce with the partner from Germany: a new trade brand is going to appear instead of ZF

As it became known to Realnoe Vremya, KAMAZ has finalised the severance of relations with the German company ZF Friedrichshafen AG after its withdrawal from the joint venture ZF Kama. The Naberezhnye Chelny automobile plant is registering a new trademark for changing the foreign designation ZF to the Russian name for the joint venture producing transmissions for trucks. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

ZF Kama is changing the sign

KAMAZ bought out the share of ZF Friedrichshafen AG in the joint venture ZF Kama PLC in November last year, becoming the full owner of the joint venture. The German-Russian company was established in 2005, it was positioned as the only Russian manufacturer of gearboxes for trucks in accordance with international quality requirements.

Transmissions are assembled at the enterprise, localised components are manufactured and heat treated, and gearboxes are serviced. More than 450 people are employed in the production. Until last year, according to the company, the staff had been regularly trained both in Russia and in the production branches of the German concern in Germany, France, Hungary, the USA. ZF Kama and ZF were strategic partners of the KAMAZ-Master team.

After the German concern withdrew from the capital of the joint venture, KAMAZ completely localised the production. And this May, they applied for registration of the trademark of the same name — ZF Kama.

“There was just one name there, now there will be another," Oleg Afanasyev, the head of the press service of KAMAZ PJSC, explained to Realnoe Vremya. “The former joint venture continues to operate. We have localised the production of all gearboxes that were produced there, and we continue to produce domestically. Now these are KAMAZ gearboxes, and the ZF Kama brand will replace ZF. The sign 'ZF Kama' hung at the entrance — it will be replaced.”

They will cope without Germany

At the beginning of the year, KAMAZ bought out the share of its other German partner, Daimler Concern, in the joint venture Daimler KAMAZ Rus PLC. The production was renamed as Trucks Vostok Rus. The company is the official distributor of medium-tonnage Compass, which are assembled in Naberezhnye Chelny on the component base of the Chinese JAC.

Even earlier, last summer, the Naberezhnye Chelny auto giant broke up with the German Knorr-Bremse. The joint venture Knorr-Bremse Kama was renamed KAMAZ Tormoznye Sistemy, brake systems are produced here.

Thus, having become a sole participant of ZF Kama PLC, the Naberezhnye Chelny Automobile Plant intends to get rid of the ZF designation as well, and nothing more will remind the company of the former foreign partner.

KAMAZ created a joint venture with the Germans to provide its cars with modern, economical, and durable transmissions. Until last November, ZF Friedrichshafen AG owned 51% in ZF Kama PLC, the Naberezhnye Chelny auto giant had the remaining 49%.

ZF Kama produces 9- and 16-speed manual transmissions Ecomid (9S1310 TO) and Ecosplit (16S1820 TO), which can be used to complete power units with a capacity from 160 to 500 horsepower.

It is not yet clear whether the separation from the partner has affected the company's revenue. The company's financial results for the previous year have not been made public, and ZF Kama completed the previous one with revenue of 7,2 billion rubles and net profit of 395,1 million rubles.

Customs did not give the go-ahead

The company continues to optimise production processes. However, during the purchase from China of one of the assembly lines for Traxon gearboxes, friction arose with customs, the dispute with which continues to this day. The employees of the department decided that ZF Kama provided false information about the customs value of the goods, and drew up an act of violation (“false declaration of goods” — Part 2 of Article 16.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation), issued a fine.

The contract with the Chinese company Dalian Haosenread Equipment Manufacture Co., Ltd for the supply of this equipment was signed by ZF Kama from Naberezhnye Chelny in April 2020. In September 2021, they filed a customs declaration. According to the description, “the assembly line for Traxon gearboxes is a full range of equipment, tooling, technical structures and systems of pneumatic pipelines and electrical wiring in the amount necessary for the assembly and installation of the line.”

In confirmation of the declared customs value, international railway waybills, a contract and an addendum to it, an export declaration of the country of departure, and a technical description were presented. However, when checking, it turned out that the price of the goods did not include all payments.

The adjusted customs value of the goods was determined by customs officers based on the price payable for the goods — 4,63 million euros. At the euro exchange rate of 85,2 at that time, this amounted to 395,8 million rubles. The amount of understatement of customs duties and taxes, according to the calculations of the department, amounted to 11,37 million.

ZF Kama was fined 5,68 million rubles for the violation. Without agreeing, the company appealed the decision of the customs in court.

During the process, the company stated that it had paid all customs duties, and this indicates that there was no offense in its act. However, the court rejected this argument, since the payment of duties after the initiation of the administrative procedure cannot be considered as a circumstance precluding liability for specifying false information about the value of the goods in the declaration.

As a result, a month ago, the Tatarstan arbitration court rejected the KAMAZ company's claim, and the appeal against this decision is to be considered by the Court of Appeal in June.

Vasilya Shirshova

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