Russian carmaker Avtotor launches production of Chinese Kaiyi cars

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Jan 30 (Reuters) -Russian carmaker Avtotor on Monday said it has begun production of Chinese Kaiyi cars at its plant in Kaliningrad, Russia's exclave on the Baltic coast.

The company said in a statement that it's preparing to start sales of the Kaiyi model E5 early this year and launch production of another three models by the end of the year.

Chinese brands have become major players in Russia's car market, reflecting China's growing importance to the Russian economy following the exodus of Western companies over Moscow's decision to send troops into Ukraine last February.

Avtotor, which previously assembled German BMW BMWG.DE and South Korean Hyundai 005380.KS and Kia 000270.KS brands, also has agreements with two other Chinese automakers. It plans to produce around 50,000 cars in 2023, Anton Alikhanov, the Kaliningrad regional governor, said in December.

China's influence is being felt elsewhere in the car market. JAC Motors' design, engineering and platform are being used to revive the Soviet-era Moskvich, production of which began late last year.

($1 = 69.9000 roubles)

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Alexander Marrow and Sharon Singleton


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