RBC is reporting that the Toyota plant in St. Petersburg has returned the night shift after a period of market stability, following the collapse in 2014. For the last six months the factory has ran with just one shift.
The company has decided to take this step after the increase in demand for its flagship models, the RAV4 and Camry. RAV4 sales in 2016 went up by 31%, while the Camry dropped by just 7%. In the first ten months of the year, the company's sales shrank by 4%, having plunged by 39% in 2015. Toyota has been assembling the RAV4 in Russia since August 2016; the model was previously imported from Japan.
During the first 11 months the plant manufactured 33,000 vehicles, from its capacity of 50,000 a year. According to Yoshinori Matsunaga, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Russia, the additional shift will increase production.
“Until recently, the Toyota factory in St. Petersburg assembled just the Camry, but in August it began manufacturing the RAV4 as well. If Toyota feels it can realise its production, then the introduction of another shift is justified,” said Sergey Udalov, an executive director at Avtostat, an analytical agency.
In early October, the Russian division of Toyota recalled 219,800 cars sold in Russia from 2007 to 2015. They included 7,500 Auris, 825 Prius, 210,500 Corollas and 914 Lexus CT 200h.
“These cars are equipped with a fuel vapour recovery system with a carbon absorber, located in the fuel tank. Because of the outlet elbow’s arrangement there is a likelihood of cracks forming,” stated the Russian authorities at the time of recall.