In partnership with its long-standing partner Avtotor, General Motors has announced that it will begin building the Opel Meriva subcompact people mover in Russia starting this May.
Known for its elegant styling, practical suicide rear doors (aka FlexDoors), and functional storage functionality such as the built-in bike rack (aka FlexSpace), the Meriva will be available with a choice of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, including a 1.4 liter gasoline mill that makes 100 horsepower, a 1.4 liter turbocharged gas-sipping four-banger rated at 140 horsepower (made popular by the U.S.-market Chevy Cruze), as well as a 1.7 liter turbodiesel good for 110 horsepower.
The Gamma II-based van will be offered in three trim levels, including the Essential, Enjoy, and Cosmo. Given current Russian Ruble to U.S. Dollar exchange rates, the Meriva will be priced at $19,600, $21,200, and $24,300, respectively.
The General didn’t provide any production volume estimates at the time of announcement, but did say that it has begun taking orders on March 21.
The GM Authority Take
While no production estimates were given, we’re almost certain GM’s decision to bring Meriva production to the GM-Avtotor Kaliningrad facilities in Russia is almost certainly a direct response to Russia’s hefty incentives aimed at boosting the amount of locally-produced vehicles by foreign automakers.
Say what you will about the practice of outsourcing automotive production, but yours truly is an ardent supporter of The General in its quest of establishing a global and flexible production structure. The important question, however, is how many Merivas Opel will end up selling in the quickly-expanding Russian market given the van’s somewhat steep price.
As it happens all to often, it seems that only time will tell.