If the new GAZ Siber, just launched at a motor show in Russia, looks familiar, it should: it's a previous generation North American car previously sold in some European markets as the Chrysler Sebring.

The Siber (pronounced cyber) is based on a platform GAZ Group acquired from Chrysler last April. The new car was developed by British company UltraMotive.

GAZ said the Siber has been fully adapted to harsh Russian road conditions and, compared to the donor Chrysler, has stiffer suspension and higher ground clearance.

Base specification follows the US original with a two-litre 141hp I4 engine. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, two airbags, ABS, traction control, halogen headlights, hydraulic power steering, adjustable steering wheel, adjustable driver's seat, hi-fi system with six-speakers and electric mirrors.

A base Siber will cost the equivalent of around $US18,000. Versions with 2.4-litre I4 and 2.7-litre V6 engines are planned and automatic transmission will be offered later.

Production starts next March and GAZ plans build 20,000 vehicles next year and 40,000 in 2009. Subsequent production volumes will depend on demand though the plants can build 100,000 vehicles a year.

The new facility has advances welding and assembly process and a Haden-2 paintshop. Workers were trained at Chrysler and Magna Steyr factories.

Chrysler will assist with quality control, ensuring that the Siber meets its standards.

The car will be sold through about 70 Russian GAZ Group dealers. The sales and service facilities were created from scratch for this project.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more