Hyundai Motor affiliate Kia Motors may move Russian assembly of its vehicles from near-bankrupt IzhAvto to Avtotor and Hyundai factories, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on Friday, citing various sources.

Kaliningrad-based Avtotor is currently in talks on assembling Kia's Sorento and Mohave SUV models, a source close to Kia and an Avtotor employee told Vedomosti.

Hyundai may start assembling the Kia Cerato sedan and a new vehicle model based on the Rio platform at its plant in the city of St. Petersburg, a source close to Kia and an unnamed dealer for the brand told Vedomosti. The new plant is expected to begin production in 2010.

IzhAvto, which is currently on the verge of bankruptcy, has cut its output of Kia models, according to Vedomosti.

Meanwhile, Cyprus-registered Shonapol Investments has acquired a 24.99% stake in IzhAvto, the carmaker said in a statement on Friday. The company is affiliated with Russia's SOK Group, Kommersant business daily said, citing sources.

In April, SOK Group, which owned 98% in IzhAvto, sold a 74.8% stake to senior managers of the carmaker.

IzhAvto, in the city of Izhevsk in Udmurtia, assembles Lada cars from AvtoVAZ car kits, as well as Kias. It built 38,395 units last year. The carmaker suspended production on 1 May.

On Thursday, Alexander Volkov, president of the constituent republic of Udmurtia, told ITAR-TASS IzhAvto had said it might resume Kia output in mid-July after Kia agreed to reduce the price of its assembly kits.

Talks have been ongoing since the beginning of May, Volkov said. The plant had to stop production on May 1 because the assembly kits were too expensive, he added.

IzhAvto plans to cut 45% of its workers, the report added. It employed 5,330 as of 31 March, according to earlier reports.