6th day – Korean Cars and Russian Beer

After a great breakfast at the Hotel, it was already time to embark on our first day of company visits in St. Petersburg. The first company we went to visit in St. Petersburg was Hyundai.

The company visit to Hyundai was an absolute highlight. The factory was simply incredible; I had never seen a factory as such or a production line for that matter. The machines that Hyundai has at the factory are unimaginable if you’ve never witnessed such a thing.

It started with a short presentation about Hyundai in general and the cars that they produce in Russia. The plant in St. Petersburg is the second largest plant with 15% of the entire volume production in Russia. The plant opened in 2007 due to its convenient location and access to the sea port. The cars are localized to fit the Russian needs.  For example, not all roads in Russia are paved and therefore the cars need to be robust enough to withstand the heavy winters and the Russian roads.

Another interesting fact is, that the production plant itself is the largest car plant in Russia, and the best plant of all Hyundai car plants in the world when it come to technology and management. Right after the presentation, we were given a tour around the plant and I was deeply impressed by every step. I have basically seen how a car gets produced from a to z. The most interesting part of the tour was the beginning, where the steel rolls get stamped, welded, and then painted. Due to health issues, we skipped the painting process. Unfortunately, I did not listen to what our guide was telling us in each process step. Looking at the huge stamping machines and seeing robots at work, took all my attention. Sebestian was walking always behind me and pushed me along the way. Otherwise, I would not have moved and would have kept observing the robots doing their work.

I believe the entire group enjoyed the trip to Hyundai. Next stop: the beer brewery Baltika.

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After Hyundai, we went to Baltika. Baltika is Russia’s largest beer brewery. This was our last company visit for the entire trip. The tour was less about Baltika’s business and strategy but more about the beer brewing process. We walked through the entire brewery and at the end had the chance to try all the beers that Baltika produces. We also learned a bit about the beer brewing history of the Company. Their product range was quite broad, ranging from a Californian craft beer to a Hefeweizen. The company seems quite innovative and ambitious with its product range, being present in various segments and markets.  It was a great ending to the “business” week and company visits.

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