UzAuto said this week it will be monitoring sales of the Chevrolet Equinox, Tahoe, Trailblazer and Traverse models in the country, which it began importing earlier this year. If sales of the vehicles are sufficient, it will invest $1 billlion to $2 billion to produce each model, according to Wards Auto. The vehicles will likely be built at UzAuto’s existing Asaka plant in the eastern part of the country, which currently builds the Chevrolet Spark, Cobalt, Gentra/Lacetti and Nexia cars. The crossovers would replace the cars at the plant, which employs roughly 8,000 people and has an annual output of around 250,000 units.
In addition to those models, UzAuto also currently builds the Chevrolet Tracker and Malibu at a plant in Tashkent and the Damas and Labo at a separate facility in Pitnak. It’s not clear what the future of these models would be if the new crossover models end up entering production in the country.
UzAuto was formerly called GM Uzbekistan and was a joint venture between state-owned holding company UzAvtosanoat and GM itself, with UzAvtosanoat claiming a 75% stake and GM holding the remaining 25%. The company was first established in 1996 as part of a joint venture between the Uzbek government and Korean brand Daewoo. This initial joint venture was called UzDaewoo Auto, though it was eventually renamed GM Uzbekistan after GM acquired Daewoo’s assets in 2001. UzAvtosanoat bought GM out if its remaining stake in the company last year, becoming UzAuto.
UzAuto markets vehicles under both the Chevrolet and Ravon brands. It it ends up producing the new Chevrolet crossover vehicles, it will also export them to other countries in addition to selling them locally in Uzbekistan. The company already exports vehicles to other countries in the region including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Azerbaijan and sends vehicles to some African and Middle Eastern countries as well.
Additionally, UzAuto has said that it may be interested in manufacturing vehicles outside of the country and is currently in talks with GM to acquire its St. Petersburg plant in Russia, which the automaker closed in 2015.