Suzuki and Itochu will jointly build an automobile factory in Russia to take advantage of the rapidly growing demand there, the Nikkei has reported.

The newspaper, without identifying any sources, said Suzuki Motor and Itochu would be equal owners of the joint venture that would operate the facility in a suburb of St Petersburg.

The assembly plant will start operating in 2009 and initially produce 10,000 sport utility vehicles, based on Suzuki Motor’s Grand Vitara model, the newspaper said.

The factory will initially adopt a knockdown production system in which components imported from Japan will be assembled, the Nikkei said.