Four German and Japanese automakers are in negotiations to open assembly lines in Russia in the next two years, Russia’s trade minister reportedly told a local news agency on Wednesday.

“At least two automakers will come to Russia this year,” German Gref, minister for economic trade and development, was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as he attended an investment forum in Yaroslavl, according to the Associated Press (AP).

He reportedly declined to name the companies.

AP noted that several foreign automakers already operate in Russia and added that Ford plans to roll out 28,000 units this year at its Vsevolzhsk plant near St. Petersburg.

General Motors Corp. reportedly last week launched production of its Hummer off-road vehicle in a $US78 million project with the Avtotor company, which also manufactures cars for BMW and Kia in the Kaliningrad exclave.

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The biggest foreign investment in automaking in Russia is GM’s $330 million joint venture with Avtovaz in the city of Togliatti, which manufactures the Chevy-Niva sport-utility vehicle, the Associated Press added.