The plant's first assembly line is designed to roll out 60,000 Chevrolet Captiva and Opel Antara sport utility vehicles annually. Investment in the project totaled $300 million, and up to 1,700 jobs may be created, with the opening of a second production line in 2010.
"I am confident that the plant has good prospects, despite the difficulties facing the planet," said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who attended the opening.
Carl Peter Foster, General Motors Vice President and President of GM Europe, said the company's presence in Russia was evidence of its confidence in the stable future of the Russian economy.
He thanked the Russian government for its support, and pledged that GM would increase the production of current models and design new cars to meet requirements of the "priority" Russian market.
The St. Petersburg government and General Motors signed the strategic investment agreement in the spring of 2006, and the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant was held in the Shushary industrial zone near the city in June of that year.
The Shushary plant is GM's third production site in Russia. The U.S. company has a JV with Russia's largest carmaker AvtoVAZ that produces Chevrolet Niva cars in Togliatti, and its plant in Kaliningrad, Russia's exclave on the Baltic, assembles Chevrolet, Cadillac and Hummer cars.
General Motors is the second foreign carmaker to open a factory in St. Petersburg. Japan's Toyota opened a plant in the city last December, while Hyundai, Suzuki and Nissan are currently building production facilities in St. Petersburg.