German auto parts supplier Continental AG has temporarily resumed production of car tires at its Russian plant in Kaluga. According to the company, this was done to protect local workers who might otherwise face criminal charges. Continental said the move was aimed at meeting local demand and in line with sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”
“Our employees and managers in Russia face severe criminal consequences should we refrain from serving local demand. In order to protect our employees in Russia from prosecution, we are temporarily resuming the production of passenger tyres for the local market at our tyre plant in Kaluga,” said Continental.
Finnish company Nokian Tires also warned this month that EU sanctions would make it harder to sell tires in Russia, although in March it said its decision to keep its plants gave it control over where tires are sold. According to it, about half of the raw materials used for the production of tires in Russia come from abroad. The Italian company Pirelli has stopped investing in Russia and reduced the number of plants there. Pirelli produced about 10% of the world’s tire production at two of its Russian plants.
President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia could seize the assets of companies that cease operations there.