Russia's Kamaz group expects its exports to increase 3% on the year to 6,504 vehicles in 2005, the group said in a statement on Thursday.

Kamaz expects its total output to rise 12% on the year to 31,504 vehicles, the Prime-Tass news agency said, adding that about 20% of the company's total output is delivered to foreign customers, primarily in Asian and CIS countries.

This year the group plans to produce only vehicles equipped with Euro-2 standard engines and to obtain Euro-3 certification for its engines. Kamaz also plans to continue co-operating with foreign companies to develop engines, gearboxes and brakes, the group said.

Prime-Tass added that Kamaz also plans to launch the production of several new models of trucks, including the 4307 and 4308 mid-sized trucks and the 4355 all-wheel drive truck customised for northern climates, and other types.

The Kamaz group includes Russia's largest heavy truck manufacturer Kamaz, based in the Russian constituent republic of Tatarstan, the Neftekamsk auto plant, located in the constituent republic of Bashkortostan, and Avtopritsep-Kamaz.

Kamaz reportedly controls about 39% of the CIS mid-sized and heavy trucks market and accounts for 14% of total Russina truck production.

The plant began operations in 1976, producing trucks with a load capacity of between 7 and 20 tonnes. It can make 100,000 trucks and 200,000 diesel engines annually, but currently only produces around 29,000 trucks a year.

Although not operating at full capacity, Kamaz still enjoyed strongest sales growth among domestic automobile producers, according to Prime-Tass. It sold about 29,000 trucks in 2004, 20% up year on year.

The report said Kamaz also produces Russia's smallest car, the A-class Oka, and, in 2004, 41,500 were produced, up 5% year on year.

Prime-Tass noted that Kamaz plans to enter the market for light trucks up to 5 tonnes, where it will compete with GAZ, and to increase its market share in the large bus segment from 14% to 20%.