General Motors' extensive plans to scale back its Russian operations are the latest sign the automotive market in the former superpower is collapsing – and there are few signs of recovery.

GM said Wednesday it will stop selling mainstream Chevrolets and shutter the entire Opel brand in Russia. The moves leave GM with a luxury-focused presence consisting of Cadillac and Chevrolet's Corvette, Camaro and Tahoe. The cutbacks will be completed by the end of the year.

The automaker will also idle its factory in St. Petersburg and end a contract-assembly agreement with Russian manufacturer GAZ.

"We had to take decisive action in Russia to protect our business," Opel Group CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said in a statement. "We confirm our outlook to return the European business to profitability in 2016 and stick to our long-term goals."

GM is the latest automaker to scale back in Russia as the economic conditions, volatile currency and uncertainty over the conflict in the Ukraine all have sandbagged new car sales.

Last month, vehicle sales collapsed 38 percent in Russia to 128,298 units, according to the Association of European Business, which records sales.

Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB automobile manufacturers committee, didn't even feign optimism in a statement announcing the figures.

"The market is entering a very difficult phase now, and February is only the beginning," he said. "Industry sentiment is the next few months will be extremely difficult and the market bottom has yet to be found."

The dovetails with industry experts, who predict the Russian auto sector will remain in the doldrums. IHS said earlier this year it expects Russia's sales to slip to just 1.8 million units in 2015, which is a 40-percent drop from 2012.


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Cadillac will offer the CT6 sedan with a 400-hp, 400-lb-ft twin-turbo V6 engine displacing 3.0 liters. It's an all-new engine and uses cylinder deactivation to drop the unit to a V4 during certain conditions. The V6 will use stop-start technology and will be paired with a new version of General Motors' eight-speed automatic transmission.

The CT6 will also get a new 3.6-liter V6 rated at 335 hp and 284 lb-ft. It employs direct-injection and variable valve-timing and can run on regular fuel, Cadillac says. It's a new generation of GM's existing 3.6-liter V6 family.
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