Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering seizing the assets of companies that have left the country in response to its invasion of Ukraine, putting billions of dollars in automotive assets at risk.
"I think it's a high risk," said Joe McCabe, CEO of AutoForecast Solutions. "Putin's not shy about walking away from an industry that supports employment in his country, that builds product for local consumers. There are high odds that companies that have left, or ones that are leaving, are nationalized for the sake of his country's economy."
Facing intense economic pressure and the prospects of a deep recession because of Western sanctions, Putin has proposed introducing "external management" of foreign companies that have exited the market, with an eye toward transferring them to enterprises "who want to work," according to a CNN report.
Auto companies including Volkswagen, Stellantis, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Renault are among the major companies that have suspended their Russian operations in recent weeks. Those moves, along with a barrage of economic sanctions from the U.S. and other global powers, have hit the Russian economy and financial sector hard, putting pressure on Putin's government to respond.