General Motors and automotive assembler Avtotor on Wednesday day signed a 'general framework agreement' for the assembly of Hummer H2 vehicles in Kaliningrad.

After the ceremony, GM CIS general director, Heidi McCormack, confirmed GM's commitment to a 'timely and successful realisation' of the project located in the city of Kaliningrad, in the western enclave of the Russian federation, bordering Lithuania and Poland.

Avtotor plans assembly of 200-400 units per annum and there are no plans to export Kaliningrad-built Hummers to other markets. The H2 is sold in Europe through GM-approved private importers in Sweden, Norway, UK, Switzerland, France and Italy and GM also plans to export the SUV to the Middle East and Japan.

The H2 debuted in 2002 in the US and sold 18,861 units. Sales in the first half of 2003 exceeded 28,000 cars produced at the Mishawaka, Indiana, plant.

Russia is one of very few countries in the world with sales exceeding one million units annually. General Motors is already present there, officially distributing Opel, Saab, Chevrolet and Cadillac, and in the GM-Avtovaz joint venture, partnering with Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz and the EBRD, producing the Chevrolet Niva in city of Togliatti, 1,200 km south of Moscow.

Avtotor is a major assembler in the Russian automotive industry. Since May 1997, it has built approximately 25,000 BMW and Kia cars.

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