Car sales in Russia will increase to 2.2 million -2.3 million vehicles per year by 2010, according to a government concept for the development of the industry, approved in 2002, Nikolai Sorokin, deputy director of the industry department at the industry and energy ministry, told Interfax.

The concept forecasts that by 2010 current Russian automobile plants will increase output to 1.25 million - 1.3 million vehicles per year. According to the forecast, this will be due, among other factors, to the launch of new production capacities at OAO Avtovaz.

Avtovaz plans to start producing Kalina cars at its new production capacities on November 18, 2004.

Production of foreign cars in Russia by 2010 is forecast to reach 450,000-500,000 units per year, Sorokin said. Imports by that date will amount to about 400,000-500,000 automobiles per year, he said.

Sorokin also said that the Industry and Energy Ministry and the Economic Development and Trade Ministry have prepared a draft investment agreement with GM-Avtovaz, containing proposals on state support for the production of Chevrolet-Niva at that company. The draft agreeing is going through the final approval and adjustment process in the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, Sorokin said.

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