Great Wall Motor, China's largest car maker, on Wednesday said it planned to build a plant in Russia, Reuters reported.

The plant, with an annual nameplate capacity of 50,000 units per year, would be built in a free economic zone in the town of Yelabuga in Tatarstan, an oil-rich autonomous region on the Volga river, the report said.

"We have already won the backing of the government of Tatarstan, as well as that of Russia's federal government," Liang Henian, director of Great Wall China, told the news agency in Moscow.

"We expect an official reply from the Russian government fairly soon," he told Reuters. "We have made a business offer, and we expect to be granted most advantageous terms."

Liang, speaking on the fringes of an Adam Smith auto industry conference, reportedly said the plant's capacity might be increased later but declined to give the cost of the project or the timeframe for its construction.

According to Reuters, a senior GWM official said in Beijing earlier this month that the project was estimated at US$100m, and the plant could be built in just 10 months.

GWM, which sold its first cars in Hong Kong in 2003, produced over 200,000 vehicles last year, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs), pickups and sedans, Reuters noted.

But it sold only 6,600 cars in Russia last year, mainly Hover SUVs and pickups. Liang told the news agency the company was betting on a winning combination of moderate prices for its core product, the Hover, and quality attested by European Union certificates.

"Our cars are high quality and inexpensive, and the Russian consumer loves just that," Liang reportedly said.