Hong Kong-listed Great Wall Motor, specialising in production of pickup trucks and SUVs, is expected to start construction of a plant in Russia with an investment of more than US$100 million this year, according to SinoCast.

Great Wall, located in Baoding, Hebei, Northern China, will build complete vehicles and some components in Russia. Previously, domestic carmakers generally assembled complete vehicles from CKD kits in overseas markets.

Wang Fengying, general manager of Great Wall, reportedly disclosed that the company planned to complete construction of the wholly owned facility in Russia within 10 months.

The plant with an annual production capacity of 50,000 units will produce three models including a pickup truck, a SUV and the Hover crossover.

A Great Wall spokesperson told journalists that the company launched the Russian project early last year but did not disclose the investment size or the detailed plan as being a listed company.

The company will make full use of Russian resources for localisation. It plans to establish 70 to 80 sales points together with Russian agents and also build repair and maintenance stations.

The spokesperson said that Great Wall started exporting complete vehicles or vehicles in CKD and SKD form from 1998. It mainly exports vehicles to Russia, Iran, Nigeria, Vietnam, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Tunis and other developing countries.

It also exports engines and other components and parts to overseas markets. Great Wall sold over 8,000 units in Russia in 2005.

The Baoding-based automaker has arranged for Russian workers to be trained in Baoding prior to starting production this October. The plant site will be decided this month and possible sites in Leningrad, Irkutskaya and Tatarstan have been considered, the SinoCast report said.