General Motors' car plant in St Petersburg began full-scale production of the new Opel Astra five-door hatchback model on Tuesday with a sale price of 569,900 rubles ($19,000).
A second shift is now working at the plant to produce the Astra.
"It was not so easy to start production of the fourth model within such a short period of time. The second shift, which we have established today, allow us to create 700 additional jobs at the plant", General Motors Director General Hans Jurgen Michel said. More than 1,500 people now work at the plant.
If the company sees demand increase, the plant will put additional production lines into operation, Michel said, adding that he hoped that the plant would reach a production capacity of 60,000 cars this year or next year.
More than 3,000 Opel Astras have already been ordered in advance, Opel`s Sales and Marketing Director Ilya Zagumennikh said.
Michel also said the plant would stop production for two weeks in August.
"Everyone will take a holiday in August. Most likely for the first two weeks," he told reporters.
The plant, located in St Petersburg, was launched at the start of 2009. It produces Opel Astra, Chevrolet Captiva, Opel Antara and Chevrolet Cruze.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 29 (RIA Novosti)