Russia’s biggest carmaker Avtovaz said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement in principle with General Motors to produce Opel Astra cars at their joint venture plant, Reuters reported.

According to the news agency, this would be the second model for the $US332 million venture, which the two companies launched at the end of September, 2002 to produce the Chevrolet Niva off-road vehicle.

Reuters cited Vladimir Kadannikov, head of Avtovaz’s board of directors, saying the joint venture, located in Togliatti, south-east of Moscow, would need $1.05 billion in investment over the next five years.