Kaluga, Russia – Volkswagen has officially begun full production at its plant in Kaluga, Russia, as part of the automaker’s international expansion strategy.

“Russia is set to become one of the world’s leading automotive nations and the Volkswagen Group will be involved in shaping this successful future as a reliable partner,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of management. “Today, we have well and truly become a Russian automaker.”

The plant has already produced over 100,000 Volkswagen and Skoda models for the Russian market since November 2007, assembled from partly-finished kits. From 2010, maximum capacity of the full production capabilities now launched will run at 150,000 vehicles. The plant contains its own body shop, paint shop and assembly lines.

Over the coming months, the Volkswagen Group will expand local production to include three more models, including a Volkswagen notchback developed specially for the Russian market.

Since assembly began just under two years ago, the Volkswagen Group has more than doubled its market share in Russia, from 3.2 per cent to the current figure of 6.6 per cent. While the overall Russian market contracted by half during the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008, Volkswagen Group Rus deliveries only declined by roughly one-fifth.

The company’s investment in Russia amounts to approximately €774 million, with some €570 million of it in the new production plant alone. The Volkswagen Group is the largest investor in the Russian automotive sector and currently employs more than 1,800 people in Kaluga, plus 300 in the Moscow-based sales company. By the end of 2010, the plant will employ about 3,000 people.

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