General Motors will help UzAuto Motors, a leading automaker in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, increase its output of vehicles to 500,000 in 2023 and to 1 million in subsequent years.
UzAuto Motors, a former joint venture between GM and state-owned UzAvtoSanoat, operates a plant in Asaka in eastern Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan on the north. UzAuto was formed after UzAvtoSanoat bought out GM’s 25% stake in the JV in 2019.
The Asaka plant built vehicles primarily for export to Russia until February, when most exports were suspended in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. UzAuto Motors since then has focused on other Central Asian markets.
A delegation of GM officials led by Shilpan Amin, GM International president, recently traveled to Asaka and signed a series of agreements expanding cooperation between the U.S. automaker and UzAuto.
As part of these plans, UzAuto will increase annual production of Chevrolet Cobalt cars and Damas vans to up to 150,000 units each. GM reportedly has pledged to ensure an uninterrupted supply of control microcircuits and onboard electronics, which are not produced in Uzbekistan. That will allow UzAuto to continue expanding its range, an example being the planned launch of the Chevrolet Onix sedan in early 2023.
During the meeting, the parties discussed organizing the small-scale production of Chevrolet vehicles in other former Soviet satellites, particularly Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, in a move to turn UzAuto into the largest automaker in the entire post-Soviet space.
According to the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan, almost 237,000 cars were assembled in Uzbekistan in 2021. As of mid-November, UzAuto had produced 280,000 cars in 2022.
According to Tom Cooney, GM vice president for global affairs, 1.57 million cars have been built in Uzbekistan over the past 10 years as a result of cooperation between the parties, with more than 27,000 jobs being created.
Uzbek media reported earlier that UzAuto Motors planned to begin the production of GM engines, including a new-generation 1.2L Turbo.