Nissan opened a plant in Russia, in St. Petersburg. The plant will begin by producing Teana and then SUV X – Trail. Nissan invested 200 million dollars and will initially have 750 staff, AFP informs. The Russian market recorded a constant growth within the last years because of foreign car brands and because more companies opened plants. But the crisis affected the Russian car market strongly and the first 2008 quarter saw a 44% drop in car sales.

CEO of Renault – Nissan alliance Carlos Ghosn said that Russia is the largest European market for the Japanese car, with a 5.7% market share. The plant has the capacity to produce 50,000 cars annually. It will start producing the Teana model, adding a second car in autumn: SUV X-Trail.

The plant has 750 staff working only one shift.

The Russian car market increased substantially over the last few years, with the Russian buying foreign brands, despite affecting the local brands, which did not improve much since Soviet times.

Almost every important international car producer opened a plant in Russia. Nissan’s partner, Renault, has been in the region for a long time and produces Dacia Logan (Romanian car brand) near Moscow.

But the last years’ boom is history. The credit crunch and the economic crisis made the sale of new cars drop 44% in Russia in the first quarter of 2009.