Russia’s prime minister Vladimir Putin has called for the modernisation of Russia’s automobile technology.

Itar-Tass reported his remarks made at a government meeting.

“A recovery in the industry and stable output growth are possible only if they are based on new technologies and if safer, more comfortable, cheap and environmentally friendly automobiles are produced,” Putin said at a government presidium meeting.

According to Itar-Tass, Putin also said the government was considering new technical regulations for automobiles that would help achieve that purpose.

Putin has given strong backing to Magna’s bid for Opel, which – with its Russian participation – is seen as one route to secure modern technology for Russia’s automotive sector.

Russian industrialists and politicians have become increasingly concerned about the struggles facing big Russian companies such as AvtoVAZ which have intensified this year due to Russia’s severe recession.

There have been signs of growing worker unrest this year in the face of large-scale layoffs and pay cuts.