Russia's annual car output is expected to reach 1.7 million-1.9 million units by 2010, industry and energy minister Viktor Khristenko reportedly said at a government meeting, though he did not provide any comparison data.

According to the Prime-Tass news agency, the minister also projected Russia's bus output at 82,000-85,000 units by 2010 and truck output at 275,000-310,000 units.

Automobile production should be worth a trillion rubles annually by 2010, Khristenko said.

New cars imports are expected to reach 400,000-500,000 units per year by 2010 if development of Russia's automobile sector remains strong, Khristenko said. But if demand is mostly met by imports, imports may total 1 million-1.1 million units by then.

Khristenko said that the government has to upgrade the Russian armed forces' automobile fleet. At present, vehicles aged over 12 years account for more than 80% of the Russian army's automobiles.

Russian companies' production of cars, trucks and buses rose 8.4% year on year in 2004 to 1.388 million vehicles, Avtoselkhozmash (ASM) Holding said earlier this year - it tracks Russia's auto manufacturing sector.

Of the total, Russian companies produced 1.109 million cars in 2004, up 9.9% year on year, 76,208 buses, down 0.5%, and 202,212 trucks, ASM told Prime-Tass, without providing comparisons.