Russia's second-largest car and truck maker GAZ has dropped plans to stop production of its only car model, the long-running Volga, and plans to upgrade it "in the near future," Maxim Avdeyev, CEO of OOO RusPromAvto, GAZ' management company, said on Monday.

"The decision to stop production of the Volga has been cancelled. The market needs the car and we're going to produce it," Avdeyev said, according to the Prime-Tass news agency.

OOO UK RusPromAvto, or RusPromAuto, is the management company of GAZ and a subsidiary of automobile holding OAO RusPromAvto, which holds 76% in GAZ.

GAZ expects its Volga output to total about 50,000 cars in 2006, flat on the year, Avdeyev said.

GAZ is considering equipping the Volga with a diesel engine in cooperation with DaimlerChrysler, a GAZ spokesman told Prime-Tass.

Volga cars have been produced since 1956. They were considered high-end cars and status symbols in the Soviet Union and were used by party officials, the news agency noted.