General Motors is to spend US$1bn in Russia over five years to more than double production by 2015.

Speaking at a dinner organised by the US-Russia Business Council, James Bovenzi, head of GM'ss Russian operations said: “There is a lot of pent-up demand in Russia. The average vehicle is more than 10 years old, The middle class is growing and nine of the 10 best-selling cars in Russia are foreign brands."

Bovenzi has already said that GM Russia plans to start selling the Chevrolet Cruze, Aveo and Camaro, along with the Opel Zafira, this year with the low-cost Chevrolet Cobalt bring added at the beginning of 2013.

The plans will increase GM’s capacity in Russia from 232,000 units in 2010 to over 520,000 in 2015.

Ford of Europe’s purchasing chief Alan Draper urged more parts suppliers to establish in Russia to help improve quality and allow international carmakers to meet local content requirements.

The business council said that Russia will soon be one of the largest car markets in the world, adding that vehicle sales in the country rose 39% in 2011 over the previous year to over 2.65m vehicles as the market bounced back from the economic crisis.

The Association of European Businesses, which represents 43 Russian and European brands, predicts that growth would continue this year with sales reaching 2.8m.

That would bring Russia close to the record sales high of 2.9m units in 2008 just before the global economic crisis hit, causing an almost 50% decline in sales.

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