Auto Companies in Russia: Always Two Sides to a Story

May 1, 2012

Eduard Roytberg is a Senior International Trade Specialist and the Global Automotive Team Leader within the Commercial Service division of the International Trade Administration.

This past week 12 U.S. auto parts and service providers traveled through Russia with ITA’s Deputy Secretary Michelle O’Neill finding partners and business opportunities along the way. It will come as no surprise that three of the 12 are based in Michigan.

CAMACO, LLC is a Novi, Michigan based independent supplier of engineered seat frames to the automotive market with locations in North America, South America, Europe and India. Camaco supports 1,200 employees worldwide and their diverse product scope includes stamped metal and wire-frame seat assemblies, headrest and armrest structures.

Participants in the Russia Automotive Trade Mission and Deputy Under Secretary O'Neill at Johnson Controls in St. Petersburg.

Participants in the Russia Automotive Trade Mission and Deputy Under Secretary O’Neill at Johnson Controls in St. Petersburg. (Photo U.S. Department of Commerce)

Camaco has only just begun working with the U.S. Commercial Service and is looking to expand operations into Russia. They have existing operations in India and Brazil.

Another Michigan company on the mission Fluxtrol, Inc., is based in Auburn Hills. Fluxtrol was established in 1981 and manufactures soft magnetic materials for magnetic flux control in induction heating systems and provides advanced engineering services including computer simulation, induction coil design and process optimization.

Fluxtrol, a client of the U.S. Commercial Service for the past  7 years, embarked on this mission to expand their presence in the Russian market and are looking to broaden and deepen their auto industry contacts. They are already planning follow-up trip. Robert Ruffini, President of Fluxtrol is also a member of the Michigan District Export Council.

Inductoheat, Inc., established in 1962 and based in Madison Heights, is a small yet leading manufacturer of induction heating equipment with more than 50 years of experience. Inductoheat operates 40 facilities worldwide providing products to many of the world’s largest automotive companies.

Indoctoheat has been working with the U.S. Commercial Service for the past two decades and hoped to gain exposure to and understanding of the Russian market, make significant connections with leaders, partners and potential customers in Russia, and explore opportunities for business expansion in Russia.

“As a result of participating in the trade mission, I will be coming back within the next three weeks to visit two new prospective clients and further develop our level of support for the Russian automotive market,” said Inductoheat, Inc., Vice President of Heat Treating Rob Madeira.

Related: U.S. Auto Parts Firms Find Partners in Russia

These and the rest of the mission participants are either already doing business in Russia and looking to expand or are here with the hope of expanding into the Russian market.

To facilitate good business relationships for U.S. companies, the Commercial Service in Russia and globally frequently work with foreign buyers to ensure that U.S. firms find positive and long-lasting relationships in an overseas market.

Some of those buyers were recognized by Ms. O’Neill during the mission’s visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Specifically, Triton-Import of Moscow was recognized for its achievement in opening the Russian automotive spare parts market to American small and medium-sized enterprises. For the past 19 years, Triton-Import has been an important Commercial Service partner. This partnership has resulted in more than $50 million in sales for U.S. exporters of automotive spare parts.

The two companies honored last week in St. Petersburg include Solex and Auto Sport Tuning. Solex was recognized for their achievement as a leading importer of American-made trucks and spare parts into Russia. The Commercial service has helped Solex find U.S. partners to actively market U.S. brands that has resulted in more than $300 million in sales for American truck manufacturers and spare parts for American trucks.

Auto Sport Tuning (AST), a relatively young partner of the Commercial Service, was recognized for its leading role as an importer of U.S. specialty automotive equipment in the Russian market. AST has participated in the International Buyer Program, or IBP, since 2007, attending the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a result of this collaboration and partnership with the Commercial Service, AST has established business partnerships with several American automotive performance suppliers.

The U.S. and Russian companies show the partnership it takes to facilitate global trade. Great partners home and abroad can be facilitated with the help of the Commercial Service domestically and overseas.

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