By Lawrence Speer, Automotive News Europe
Paris - Faurecia plans to open two new plants in Russia by 2010.
The factories will help meet growing demand from auto manufacturers ramping up production in the Moscow and St Petersburg areas.
"Russia is one of our most important target markets," Faurecia's executive vice president for group strategy, Bruno Montmerle, told Automotive News Europe.
Faurecia hopes to benefit from an expected sharp growth in the Russian car market, which is forecast to top 3 million new-car sales this year. If current growth continues, Russia is set to be Europe's largest market by 2012.
Most suppliers are either moving to Russia or contemplating production ventures there.
Faurecia's French rival Valeo "intends to establish a presence in Russia this year," a spokeswoman said.
Faurecia is in the final stages of site selection for a greenfield plant near Kaluga. From here it plans to supply PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Volkswagen group. It also hopes to increase its business with Renault's Logan manufacturing site 180 km away in Moscow.
The part maker is finalising plans to build a facility near St Petersburg, where Ford, Nissan, General Motors and Toyota are already making or will produce cars.
Montmerle said the new plants would make most of the company's key products, including bumpers, exhaust systems, and seats.
He anticipates investment will run "in the tens of millions of euros."