General Motors expects to sell 75% more cars than its initial sales forecast for 2006 in Russia during 2007 - a total of 175,000.

A company spokesman told the Associated Press (AP) that Russia's oil driven economic growth was fuelling demand for cars.

GM sold 76,578 vehicles last year and had already racked up 52,699 sales in the first six months of this year, the news agency said.

Spokesman Roman Skolsky told AP that, after posting an initial forecast of 100,000 cars for 2006, GM's Russian division was now expecting the end of year sales figure to be higher, but was unable to be more precise.

AP noted that foreign car makers are flocking to set up production in Russia, and GM, which already operates two plants in Russia, is building a third near St. Petersburg.

Sales of new foreign cars in Russia rose 60% in 2005 to 563,400 - including both imports and brands produced by foreign manufacturers in Russia, the report added, citing consultancy Ernst & Young.

About 180,000 foreign-maker cars were manufactured in Russia last year, AP added.