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    Severstal-Avto, Isuzu sign deal to start joint production 1H08

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    MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian auto maker Severstal-Avto [RTS: SVAV] and one of Japan's leading truck producers, Isuzu, signed an agreement Monday to launch a joint venture in the Volga region, Republic of Tatarstan in 2008.

    The industrial assembly project, Severstalavto-Isuzu, will have an annual capacity of 25,000 Isuzu trucks and will start production in the first half of 2008.

    Severstal-Avto and Isuzu signed a protocol to establish a JV in February 2007. It will be the first Russian-Japanese joint venture in the motor industry. Severstal-Avto will hold a 66% stake in the new company, while Isuzu will own 29% and 5% will belong to Isuzu trading house.

    The companies said earlier they intended to produce medium-size Isuzu NQR 71 trucks, with a load capacity of about five metric tons, and heavy-duty Isuzu CXZ 51 trucks, with a load capacity of about 20 metric tons.

    A number of foreign companies, including car giants America's Ford Motor Company, Germany's Volkswagen, Japan's Toyota, and France's Renault have either opened or are building plants in Russia.

    Last September Japan's Nissan put pen to paper to open a plant near Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, and in June Peugeot Citroen signed a deal to assemble cars in Russia.

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