Mazda production line Japan 2018

Vladivostok plant (not pictured) built Mazda cars in Russia using parts shipped from Japan

Russian firm Sollers will buy the Japanese company’s Vladivostok manufacturing capacity for a nominal fee

Mazda will sell for a nominal fee its half of the joint venture that manufactures cars in eastern Russia, partner company Sollers has confirmed.

The deal, worth €1, has a buy-back clause enabling the Japanese company to re-enter the joint venture within three years.

This mirrors moves made by Ford, Nissan and Renault – Ford having also partnered with Sollers – to effectively pause their business in Russia following the state’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mazda is expected to lose approximately ¥JPY 12 billion (£72 million) because of its exit from the joint venture.

A spokesperson for Sollers said the sale had already been approved and it is preparing to restart production at the Vladivostok plant in 2023 – albeit with its own models.

Russian news agency Interfax reported that the sale could be closed within the coming weeks, citing a source said to be familiar with the matter.

Mazda and Sollers began producing cars in Vladivostok in 2012 and previously made around 50,000 units at the facility annually.

The plant was used to assemble the Mazda 6 and Mazda CX-5 from knock-down kits shipped from Japan. However, supply chain issues after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February meant Mazda suspended production at the plant in April.

Mazda is the latest manufacturer to exit the market, following Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and others in selling its businesses in the region.

Mercedes has yet to finalise its withdrawal but was reported to be in talks with Avtodom – a chain of Russian car dealers – in late October.

Ford holds a five-year buy-back clause, while Nissan and Renault hold six-year windows to repurchase their Russian businesses.

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