Volkswagen's light commercial vehicles business will begin assembly in Russia in May and is examining options to build transporter models in China and India.

"We want to double our (Russian) market share from about 5% today to 10% by 2018," the head of Volkswagen's light commercial vehicles business, Stephan Schaller, told Reuters.

"In order to step on the gas, we have installed an SKD (semi-knocked down) assembly line for the T5 and the Caddy in the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga. We begin in May."

Schaller said his transporter division wants to enter the Chinese and Indian markets with its own manufacturing operations.

"We are examining various options at present, including a cooperation with other commercial vehicle makers. An alternative is using existing production capacity of the group but a decision has not yet been made," Schaller said.

Schaller told the news agency he expects unit sales, revenue and operating profit to decline this year. He said his business would perform better than the transporter market, which he forecast would shrink by about 25% this year.

While he aimed to maintain his permanent staffing levels, Schaller said he could not rule out cutting work hours further at Hanover in Germany and Poznan in Poland.

There have been temporary production cuts already.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles reaffirmed its 2018 volume target of roughly 750,000 unit sales after deliveries rose 2.9% last year to 503,000 units, lifting revenue 3.3% to EUR9.6bn and operating profit by nearly a quarter to EUR375m.