Hyundai is looking at launching mass production of Verna (Accent) compact cars in Russia next year, local sources have reported.

The news agency ITAR-TASS said the cars would be assembled at the company’s planned plant in St Petersburg and will be adapted for the Russian market where they will be fitted with 1.5-litre engines, elsewhere the Verna is available with 1.4- or 1.6-litre engines.

Although a source suggested production is due to start in January, the company also said that this could be delayed due to the financial crisis brewing in the EU.

The formal opening of the St Petersburg plant is due in September with mass production beginning in January. The factory is scheduled to make around 150,000 vehicles per year by 2012.

Construction started on the EUR500m (US$624.7m) factory in June 2008. It is currently in test mode.

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