Mitsui to build Toyotas in Russia with Sollers: official

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Russian automaker Sollers on Tuesday announced the creation of a joint venture with Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. to build Toyota vehicles in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

The announcement came just 10 days after Sollers formed a similar joint venture with US auto giant Ford amid renewed international interest in Russia's reviving car market.

Sollers said the venture "will produce automobiles with the technical assistance of Toyota" and be jointly owned by the Russian company and Mitsui, the Japanese conglomerate that once wholly owned Toyota Motors.

The first line of Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vehicles will roll off the Vladivostok production line in early 2012, Sollers said, with initial production expected to reach 1,000 vehicles per month.

Russia has been experiencing renewed interest from global auto giants after seeing sales grow 30 percent last year, a strong bounce-back from a 49-percent decline experienced in the midst of the global financial crisis in 2009.

The return of foreign auto players to Russia has been helped by government programmes eliminating import duties for companies that produce at least 300,000 vehicles per year and introducing other incentives.

© 2011 AFP

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