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Foreign car sales in Russia grow 70% to 720,000 in H1 2007

Sales of foreign cars in Russia increased 70%, year-on-year, in January-June 2007, to 720,143 vehicles, the automobile manufacturers committee of the Association of European Business (AEB) in Russia said Monday.

In June 2007, foreign car sales grew 57%, year-on-year, to 89,053 vehicles, the AEB said in a statement. Chevrolet (including cars produced by the GM-AvtoVAZ joint venture) was the most popular foreign brand in Russia in January-June 2007, with sales totaling 84,467 vehicles, followed by Ford with sales of 81,782, and Toyota with sales of 72,331, the statement said.

As Russia continues to reap benefits from high world oil prices and increases in household disposable incomes mean more money to spend on consumer goods, foreign car makers are expanding their auto production in the country. At a special ceremony July 8, Japanese company Nissan laid the foundation stone for its $200 million auto plant in St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, which will produce about 50,000 vehicles a year, Russia's respected business daily Vedomosti said Monday. According to Vedomosti, Nissan plans to produce two models at its St. Petersburg factory: the Teana sedan and the X-Trail off road vehicle. (en.rian.ru)