General Motors is to suspend production at its St Petersburg plant from 8 to 28 June, the company's government relations manager Yulia Boycharova told Prime-Tass on Tuesday.

Production will be halted in order to prepare equipment to assemble the Chevrolet Cruze, Boycharova said. Workers not involved in the tooling up will be placed on paid leave, she added.

The plant was expected to start Cruze production in mid-2009, according to earlier reports.

The automaker partially suspended production from 31 March to 13 April to prepare for the Cruze.

The 70,000 unit plant opened in November 2008 and operated in test mode until February. It currently produces the Chevrolet Captiva and Opel Antara sport utility vehicles.