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Canadian Automotive Companies Leaping into Russia

Last year we did a lot of reporting on the important deal struck between Magna, Canada’s largest automotive manufacturing giant, and Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element group. Now today the Financial Post reports that more and more are following Frank Stronach’s lead to bet their future on the Russian market:

Linamar Corp., Canada’s second largest supplier, is joining five other confirmed auto parts companies in a one-week mission to Russia set to start May 25. The schedule includes stops in Nizhny Novgorod, the so-called Detroit of the East and home of Mr. Deripaska’s OAO GAZ carmaker, as well as St. Petersburg, where international automakers such as General Motors Corp. are expanding output. (…)”The reality is they need suppliers like us very desperately,” said Gerry Fedchun, president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, who is heading the mission. “Knowing that Magna is going there, and how big and sophisticated they are, you know that the market is there and expanding.”

The Canadians aren’t the only ones paying attention here – Russia is widely regarded as the world’s most potentially lucrative automotive market, a fact which may eventually come to play a role in her international relations. There’s an endless flow of deal news in this area: Goodyear is considering a $250 million tire plant, Renault, Nissan, and AvtoVAZ are looking to buy the IzhAvto plant, and Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot Citroën are going in on a $465 million plant. Those are just some of the most recent deals in the past few days.Did we mention that this is the only blog which points out that Sen. John McCain’s main Russia policy adviser is a vice president of the Ford Motor Company?