Russia's flagship automaker, GAZ, said in a statement Friday it had agreed to buy DaimlerChrysler production lines used build the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus in Sterling Heights, MI, and move them to Russia, where it will produce the cars under license. According to the Associated Press, the move to GAZ's headquarters city of Nizhny Novgorod will take place after U.S. production stops in May. The Sterling Heights plant, which has produced the two models since 2000, will then undergo a $278 million modernization to refit it for production of the company's next-generation models of the Sebring and Stratus.
GAZ, which also agreed to buy DaimlerChrysler-made engines produced in Mexico for use in its own vehicles, said it will produce 65,000 DaimlerChrysler cars annually. Best known for its Volga sedans, GAZ exports to 29 countries across the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Its annual output is about 200,000 units.