Monday, July 28, 2008
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Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James C. Epolito was in Russia Friday, July 25, to witness the first Volga Siber roll off the production line at the GAZ Group factory in Nizhny Novgorod. Epolito was the first American to drive the new vehicle, which utilizes Chrysler technology and other parts and components manufactured by Michigan-based suppliers.
“This is the beginning of a partnership that will greatly benefit the economies of Russia and the state of Michigan,” Epolito said. “The project demonstrates our state’s continued leadership and Russia’s growing status in the global auto industry. In turn, the governor and I are appreciative of the investment in Michigan represented by the high volume of parts that will be supplied by Michigan companies and workers.”
Epolito presented GAZ Group Chairman Sergey Zanozin with a letter from Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and a plaque commemorating the event. Epolito and the governor met with GAZ Group CEO Leonid Dolgov and other company officials last November in Michigan.
GAZ, Russia’s second-largest automaker, bought and shipped the assembly line from Detroit to the factory at Nizhny Novgorod. The technology was formerly used by Chrysler to build the Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring. Current production projections estimate an annual volume of 65,000 vehicles. The procurement volume placed with Michigan companies through model year 2010 is estimated to reach $1 billion.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at www.MichiganBusiness.org.
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