Magna International is expected to start building a components plant in St. Petersburg in early 2009, Maxim Sokolov, chairman of the city government's investments and strategic projects committee, has said.

The plant is expected to be launched in mid-2010, Sokolov said.

According to earlier reports, Magna is expected to invest over US$50m in the plant, which will be built in the city's Shushary industrial area

Magna struck an alliance last year with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who now owns 42% of a holding company that controls Magna.

Derpaska's GAZ Group launched serial production earlier this year of its previous-generation Dodge Stratus/Chrysler Sebring-based Volga Siber in a factory with capacity of up to 100,000 a year.

Manufacturing expertise on that project was provided by Magna.