As Russia takes steps toward annexing the Crimean region of the Ukraine, automakers hoping to increase sales of vehicles to Russia say the volatile situation could hamper their efforts.
As the geopolitical situation intensifies, automakers such as Ford and General Motors are moving forward with additional investments in the Russian automotive industry, reports the Detroit News.
Ford plans to triple its capacity in Russia via a joint-venture to about 350,000 vehicles, while GM is investing $1 billion in Russia to boost capacity to 230,000 vehicles built in the country.
Auto sales reached 2.78 million in Russia in 2013, a decline from the 2.93 million in 2012. Russia is the second largest European market behind Germany.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty formally claiming Crimea into Russia. He added that he won't seize other regions of the Ukraine, reports Reuters.
On Sunday, voters in Crimea approved a measure to seek independence from the Ukraine and seek annexation by Russia. A day later, Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as a "sovereign and independent state."