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VW to continue expansion in Russia despite Crimea controversy

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Despite overall global displeasure, and a call by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the European Union to “escalate punitive measures against Russia following its annexation of Crimea,” Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn has stated that he does not intend to cut back on expansion plans there.

While Merkel announced that the current EU summit (being held today and tomorrow) “ will make clear that they are ready at any time to introduce phase-3 measures if there is a worsening of the situation,” Winterkorn stated his own intentions to press forward with his own agenda.

"Our sales numbers continue to look good, but we're paying very close attention to what is happening there," Winterkorn said. "Investments are still running; we will not stop the new engine plant being built in Kaluga for VW and Skoda vehicles.”

The assembly plant already employs more than 5,100 people.

Volkswagen Group, which enjoys a 10-1/2% market share in Russia reportedly, sold nearly 38,000 VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat vehicles in the country in the first two months, according to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses. In fact, VW and has already spent 1 billion euros to develop its operations in Russia, and is planning to spend another 850 million more through the end of next year.