An initial order for 100 vehicles from a Moscow based company in the construction sector means Volvo Truck will soon be starting production at its own assembly plant in Russia.

This is the successful outcome of a joint industrial venture with the Russian company JSFC Sistema.

The new production facility will be in Zelenograd, a rapidly expanding industrial area just outside the Russian capital. The plant is needed to meet the growing demand for modern heavy trucks in Russia.

The first trucks to be assembled in the Zelenograd plant should roll off the production line in the middle of 2001. The plant's capacity in the first year will be 200-300 vehicles but that can easily be expanded.

With over 6,000 vehicles registered, Volvo claims to be the leading brand in the heavy truck market in Russia today and says that the sheer scale of fresh investment needed in the transport sector means that the demand for new trucks has barely begun to be tapped. Heavy vehicles currently in use on Russian roads are very dated and badly in need of replacement.

Trucks produced in the new assembly plant will be backed up by 20 existing service centres, strategically located on major transport arteries.