AvtoVAZ, which produces 70 to 75 percent of cars built in Russia, increased its output by 8 percent in the first nine months of this year to 570,000 cars, driving overall sector growth.

The report in the St. Petersburg Times also notes that the AvtoVAZ performance contrasts with The Gorky Automobile Plant, or GAZ, where output is down by 26%.

Overall production by GAZ in the first nine months of 2001 was down 26 percent year on last year to some 37,000 vehicles. Car production fell 38 percent to 59,600 cars, while truck production slid 10 percent. Overall production had already dropped 5 percent in 2000.

GAZ may have turned a corner in September, when production grew by 8 percent month on month. "The production growth indicates that GAZ may be starting to recover," said Julia Zhdanova, transport analyst at UFG, speaking to the St. Petersburg Times.

The auto industry overall continues to sputter, with vehicle production up 0.8 percent to 812,800 vehicles in the first eight months of the year. Car production rose 3.4 percent to 670,800 units, according to the Avtoselkhozmash Holding, Interfax reported.

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