President Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, friends!
Ladies and gentlemen!
I want to congratulate everyone on a landmark event, the beginning of the construction of a factory for the production of automotive components.
As you know, we have just opened a new Toyota factory. Only two years ago we laid the first stone for this factory, and today it has produced its first car. This is an assembly operation, and I want to point out that, as we just saw in the movie, all the major auto companies are coming to St Petersburg, are coming to Russia.
The five biggest automobile companies in the world are planning to set up plants in St Petersburg, and one is already working in the province. In fact, St Petersburg is becoming one of the most important centres in Russia and the entire world for the production of automotive technology. This is not only the result of our economic policy in recent times but also of macroeconomic indicators and other factors. Of course this is the result of sensible actions by the government in regards to industry. This involves the government in making difficult decisions, but we have done so knowingly, and the results are clear: work on major automotive factories has already begun, which means technology, jobs, a high level of training and skills, and that means in-house development.
Of course today we are here to celebrate a very pleasant event, because if in the next few years, Russia produces something like 300,000 cars with the help of foreign investment, by the year 2010 we will have more than a million, and by 2012–2015 there may be more than a million produced in St Petersburg alone.
Specialists are well aware that once a certain number of cars are produced in a country, the components should be made in the same country, because it is economically more feasible. In any case, manufacturers of components and various automotive parts must be based in the country where a certain amount of automotive technology is produced. Within the next two to three years Russia will be in such a situation and it will be economically viable to produce automotive components right here, on Russian territory. This is the first serious step in that direction.
This is a very important step, and today we are planning to install new equipment, introduce an advanced production line, and to introduce resource-saving technologies. Already in the next little while we plan to establish the full automobile production cycle in St Petersburg. All of this will help promote the development in the automotive industry throughout Russia.
I would also note the important social role and significance of this project – more than 1500 jobs will be created, and highly skilled workers will need to receive training here. That is what we saw today at the Toyota factory. I was glad to talk with the guys, with young Russian specialists working in this enterprise, who already have a good education and training. Here it will certainly be the same but here, as you know and understand, it is a Russian company that is the major investor, something that is especially gratifying. This implies that our Russian producers have already reached a level that will allow them to not only develop domestic production in such a crucial and high-tech oriented sector such as automotive manufacturing, but it will also act as an integral part of global production. This is very pleasant and gratifying to see.
In conclusion I would like to once again wish you success in constructing this new production facility that should be fully consistent with the challenges facing the automotive industry in Russia. I would like to sincerely wish you success as well as, of course, my best wishes for the New Year. Thank you for your attention.
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Vladimir Putin (speech before the ceremony for laying the symbolic plaque): Exactly two years ago in a similar location we laid the cornerstone for the Toyota factory. I hope that in two years we will we witness something comparable to the production of the first car, which we have seen today.