Russian car maker Izhavto, based in Izhevsk in the constituent republic of Udmurtia, has halted assembly from December 22 to January 11 due to weaker demand, Udmurtia's deputy prime minister Viktor Savelyev told ITAR-TASS.

"The Russian market is overstocked with foreign vehicles, and the demand for Russian vehicles, especially in winter, has fallen considerably," Saveliyev reportedly said.

"The production of Izhevsk's cars has exceeded the demand. A total of 350 cars are assembled every day, while daily sales do not exceed 220," he added.

This is the second time this year Izhavto's management has suspended production. The company stopped production on October 27 for the same reason.

Izhavto is part of Russia's SOK group, which is based in the city of Samara. In 2003, the company produced a total of 92,214 cars, compared with 78,234 cars in 2002.

In January-November, Izhavto produced 96,250 cars. No comparisons were available, the news agency report said.