The first Chevrolets assembled by General Motors‘ local partner, Azia Avto, in Ust-Kamenogorsk, go on show in the Kazakh capital, Astana, today. The Chevrolet Captiva SUV, Epica sedan and Lacetti compact models are assembled from kits supplied from General Motors’ South Korean manufacturing facilities (GM DAT).

The assembly of 1,500 units this year and more than 3,000 in 2008 will put Chevrolet in a strong position in a market with significant growth potential. Kazakhstan, with a population of 18 million, saw annual vehicle sales exceed 60,000 for the first time in 2006. Based on continued economic growth, this figure is expected to increase to 250,000 within five years.

The cars produced in Ust-Kamenogorsk are to be sold exclusively within Kazakhstan.

“Kazakhstan has a prosperous future and we are very pleased to have a reliable and knowledgeable manufacturing partner to work with,” said Chris J. Lacey, Executive Director GM Central and Eastern Europe. “There is plenty of opportunity to extend General Motors’ activities and model offer in Kazakhstan and, working with our ever growing dealer network, we will be able to reach out to even more prospective customers.”

“We are very proud to bring one of world’s top three brands to our country,” said Yerzhan Mandiyev, President of Azia Avto. “Chevrolet’s reliability, attractive design and strong brand image are exactly what a growing number of Kazakhstan’s new car buyers are looking for.”