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Russia's KamAZ cuts truck production by 61% in January-March

KAZAN, April 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest truck maker KamAZ manufactured around 5,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2009, representing a 61% year-on-year decrease, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

In January-March 2008, the company produced around 13,000 trucks, compared to 5,150 in the same period of this year. In April, KamAZ plans to manufacture more than 2,500 vehicles, the spokesman said.

However, the company will move to a four-day week in June without introducing forced holidays, but could resume normal operations if additional orders are received.

KamAZ, based in Naberezhnye Chelny in the Volga republic of Tatarstan, restarted its main assembly line in mid-March after a 10-day break due to weak demand for vehicles amid the financial crisis.

The company has suspended production four times in the last six months, most recently putting workers on forced holidays on March 6-16.

Auto factories throughout Russia have been hard-hit by rising prices for auto parts and other supplies, and declining sales.

Russia's leading carmaker AvtoVAZ briefly shut down its assembly line twice in February, citing payment problems with suppliers. The country's second largest producer GAZ Group, which also suspended production for two weeks in March, is facing tens of millions of dollars in debt claims from metal suppliers. A Ford factory near St. Petersburg shut down its assembly lines for about a month in December.

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