CEO Dieter Zetsche said Wednesday the Moscow-area plant will produce Mercedes sedans and SUVs for the local market, and is part of a strategy to move production closer to customers.
The opening was attended by German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who also was meeting President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials on a two-day visit. Ministry spokeswoman Annika Einhorn said the trip aimed to address "opportunities and challenges for German business in Russia."
Germany's government stressed the visit didn't signal a return to business as usual. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Germany's position on sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine hasn't changed.