Volkswagen has sold its assembly plant and other operations in Russia to a local auto show, more than a year after the German automaker ended production in the country following the invasion of Ukraine, the company said on Friday.

As part of the deal, which required Russian government approval, Avilon’s Moscow dealership acquired the assets of Volkswagen Group Rus, the automaker said. Neither company disclosed a sale price, but Russian media, citing local records, said Avilon paid about 125 million euros ($135 million).

Volkswagen made the announcement in a brief statement and declined to comment further on the deal.

The move makes Volkswagen the latest European automaker to pull out of Russia in the past year, joining several hundred other multinational corporations in exiting a market where many have spent decades curating and engineering. But anger over Moscow’s war in Ukraine, combined with difficulties coping with tough economic sanctions aimed at punishing Russia, have made the Russian market less attractive.

Mercedes-Benz announced last month that it had sold its Russian division, including an assembly plant, to Russian investor Avtodom, about a year after it suspended local production and exports of cars and vans to Russia. The sale included a limited buyback option, the company said, but gave no further details.

Last year, French car manufacturer Renault negotiated an agreement with the Russian government to sell its 68 percent stake in AvtoVAZ, Russia’s largest automaker, to the Moscow-based automotive research institute NAMI for 1 ruble, with the possibility of resuming business in the country in the future.

Volkswagen declined to say whether the sale included a return to Russia clause. In addition to the plant in Kaluga, a city in western Russia, the sale of Volkswagen also included the company’s components and leasing divisions.

Avilon did not comment on the sale, and it was not immediately clear what its plans were for the plant in Kaluga.

Before the all-out invasion of Ukraine, Avilon it sold Volkswagen cars as well as dozens of other Western brands, including Mercedes, Jeep and Rolls-Royce. It has also started selling leading Chinese brands such as Chery, Great Wall and Zeekr since last year.

Volkswagen spent 774 million euros to build the Kaluga plant, which opened in 2007. Two years later, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia arrived by helicopter to celebrate the start of full production of several of the company’s best-selling models as well as models from the ┼ákoda range.

The plant had the capacity to produce 225,000 cars per year, nearly the number the company delivered to customers in Russia in 2021. Shortly after the invasion in February 2022, Volkswagen shut down operations at the plant. It also stopped making cars at another plant, in Nizhny Novgorod, owned by Russia’s Gaz Group.

The Gaz Group has sued Volkswagen over the stoppage of action in an attempt to freeze the German company’s assets in Russia. Last month, the court ruled in favor of Volkswagen.

Over the past year, 4,000 employees of the Kaluga plant remained on the payroll as they waited for information about whether they will be allowed to return to work. The idle plant has been a financial burden for Volkswagen, which is trying to expand its range of electric vehicles and revamp its flagship brand. It is also losing ground to local brands in China, the world’s largest car market.

Observers believe that the major companies waited several months to assess the situation before deciding whether to withdraw from Russia. Big multinationals that have spent decades building supply chains and networks have realized that the complexity and reach of these systems make it difficult to stop them quickly, said Sebastian Hoppe, a political economist at Berlin’s Free University who studies Russia.

“The more suppliers you have in Russia itself, the harder it is to pull them out and the longer this whole process takes,” Mr Hoppe said.

Automakers in Russia employed 300,000 people in 2021, according to the country’s statistics office, and up to 3.5 million more are estimated to work in related industries. Those jobs have been devastated over the past year as car production has fallen by 77 percent, largely as Western firms pulled back their stakes.

Other companies are also deciding to turn their backs on Russia. Henkel, the German maker of washing powder and other household products, and Ikea, the Swedish furniture company, sold their factories to local buyers in Russia this year.

The sale of factories and other assets may have come at a loss, but many Western companies do not expect the Russian economy to return to normal growth in the near future.

“What I think is also important is, of course, that the Russian market tends to be less attractive than it was before the war,” Mr Hoppe said.

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