World’s biggest car-maker Toyota exits Russia amid ongoing Ukraine conflict

Six months after pausing production in Russia, Toyota is leaving the market entirely by closing its factory and stopping any further imports of its motor vehicles.

Japanese car giant Toyota – the world’s biggest car-maker by annual sales volume – has announced it will exit the Russian market, selling its Saint Petersburg factory and ending imports to the eastern European country.

In March this year, Toyota paused production of the RAV4 SUV and Camry sedan at its Saint Petersburg factory due to parts supply disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While Toyota had retained its Russian workforce by performing maintenance on the Saint Petersburg factory for six months, a media statement from the car giant said it has “not been able to resume normal activities and sees no indication that we can restart in the future”.

Russian production of the Toyota Camry began in 2007 while the RAV4 has been built in Saint Petersburg since 2016. Both vehicles are also made at multiple Toyota factories around the world. Australia sources the Camry and RAV4 from Japan.

As reported by Automotive News Europe, Toyota’s Russian factory produced approximately 80,000 vehicles in 2021, exporting vehicles to Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Armenia.

A spokesperson for Toyota Europe told Automotive News Europe: “If sold, the (Saint Petersburg) plant will not build rebadged versions of the Camry and RAV4”.

Both Toyota and its luxury offshoot Lexus will also cease imports of new cars to Russia, although the companies are planning to restructure their retail networks to provide ongoing service to existing customers.

According to Russian new-car sales data, Toyota sold 97,941 vehicles last year, delivering 38,441 RAV4s and 31,983 Camrys – placing 11th and 12th respectively on the sales charts.

Toyota says its laid-off workers will be offered assistance for “re-employment, re-skilling and well-being, including financial support above legal requirements”.

The decision to close its Russian factory is not expected to affect Australian supply of the RAV4 and Camry, as locally-delivered examples of both models are built in Japan.

As previously reported, Australian buyers of the Toyota RAV4 are facing wait times of close to two years due to semiconductor shortages and production cuts.

Last month, Toyota Australia sold 2482 examples of the RAV4 – down 21.7 per cent on the same month a year prior but enough to place third on the new-car sales charts for August.

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