Renault plans to spend €230 million ($US280 million) on doubling production in Russia in the medium term, French finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on a visit to Moscow.

According to Reuters, Sarkozy said that there had been problems with importing components for assembly and added he had been assured by the Russian government that they would be dealt with.

“Renault has some customs problems. To increase its production in Russia it has to import a lot of spare parts,” Sarkozy told a news conference after meeting Russian energy and industry minister Viktor Khristenko. “We’ve got a pledge from Khristenko that this problem will be solved.”

Reuters said Renault has a joint venture with the Moscow government, Avtoframos, which imports and assembles its cars in Russia.

Citing the Interfax news agency, Reuters said Renault sold 11,357 cars in Russia in 2003 and plans to sell 16,000 in 2004.