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    Russia to build its first automatic transmission plant by 2007

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    MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's car industry will join the world club of automatic transmission producers when a plant to manufacture domestically designed automatic gearboxes is built in the country's enclave within the European Union this year.

    Russian car models are not equipped with automatic transmissions.

    "Launching the production of automatic gearboxes in Kaliningrad will be a 'first robin' for domestic and foreign gear customers," said Boris Alyoshin, head of the Federal Agency for Industry (Rosprom), at a presentation of Russian transmissions at the Moscow International Motor Show 2006 Thursday.

    Alyoshin said the plant will be inaugurated later this year, and that full-scale production, with an annual capacity of 200,000 boxes, will begin in early 2007.

    Maxim Nagaitsev, acting director of Russia's largest carmaker, AvtoVaz, said the company wants to install Russian-made automatic gearboxes not only in regular cars, but in military vehicles as well.

    Russia's first automatic gearboxes are designed by the Bauman Moscow State Technical University's design bureau, which is presenting the world's first 7-speed automatic gearbox at the show, along with a 6-speed model.

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