07ASTANA3276, GENERAL MOTORS RIDES INTO KAZAKHSTAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA3276 2007-12-07 12:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO6308
RR RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHPW RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #3276 3411202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071202Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1322
INFO RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 0040
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0324
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ASTANA 003276 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN - O'MARA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON ETRD EINV EIND ELTN KTDB KZ
SUBJECT: GENERAL MOTORS RIDES INTO KAZAKHSTAN 
 
Ref: Astana 2201 
 
1. General Motors is rapidly expanding its still modest presence in 
Kazakhstan, GM European affairs executive director Trayce Wakefield 
told the Ambassador on October 31.  Through collaboration with Azia 
Avto, a Kazakhstani company, GM is now assembling Chevrolet cars in 
Ust Kamenogorsk (East Kazakhstan Oblast) at a plant that also 
assembles Avtovaz (Lada), Skoda, and Suzuki cars.  The Azia Avto 
operation employs about 3,000 people, of which approximately 500 
work on the Chevrolet operation. 
 
2. Having launched Chevrolet in Kazakhstan, GM also has plans to 
introduce the more expensive Opel brand.  GM Marketing Manager for 
Kazakhstan Assel Kozhakova told Econoff on November 8 that for now, 
GM assembles in Kazakhstan several Chevrolet models, with prices 
ranging from around $12,000 (for a bare-bones Aveo) to $39,000 (for 
a fully equipped Captiva SUV).  GM is also importing into Kazakhstan 
bigger, more upscale SUV's, including Chevrolets, Cadillacs, and 
Hummers, all assembled in the U.S. and United Arab Emirates. 
 
3.  According to Wakefield, GM has a good relationship with the 
Kazakhstani Government and has ambitious expansion plans in the 
country.  It already has 13 dealerships in 13 different cities and 
intends to open more, including a soon-to-be-completed "very large" 
dealership in Almaty.  That dealership will offer Chevrolets, Opels, 
Hummers, and probably Saabs. 
 
4. Sales of new GM cars are currently growing at nearly 30 percent 
per year.  Kozhakova said that the recent ban on importation of 
right-hand drive vehicles is helping increase demand for GM cars. 
GM's management in Kazakhstan is pinning additional hopes on the 
possible introduction of stricter environmental standards, which 
could benefit the automaker at the expense of its competition, 
including the burgeoning industry of importing used vehicles from 
western Europe.  (Note: Stricter emission and fuel quality standards 
may, indeed, be coming to Kazakhstan soon. See Reftel. End note.) 
 
ORDWAY

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