General Motors Co. said Friday it will move oversight of its Russia business to GM Europe, effective Jan. 1, to help the company strengthen its Opel brand in Russia. Management of the Russian market now falls to GM International Operations based in Shanghai, China.
Andy Dunstan, GM’s executive director of sales for Central and Eastern Europe and International Operations, will begin to manage Russia business effective Nov. 1. He will report to Karl-Thomas Neumann, chairman of Opel/Vauxhall and president of GM Europe. Dunstan replaces Jim Bovenzi, who will relocate to Detroit and serve as executive director of global localization strategy.
“This is the right decision at the right time. Russia is an important part of the European market and for Opel it is the third biggest market in Europe,” Neumann said in a statement. “All forecasts point out that Russia will become the biggest market in Europe in the next years. Opel enjoys high reputation in Russia. With our strong model portfolio we want to clearly increase our market share.”
GM also sells the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands in Russia. Last year, GM sold 288,000 vehicles in Russia, representing 9.6 percent of the industry there. Sales in 2012 were up from 244,000 in 2011.