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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

First Russian Motor Show Opens With Plea for Help

Russia's first international motor show opened Thursday with pleas from Russia's minister for industry for "charity donations" from Western car makers to help the KamAZ truck factory recover from a devastating fire last month.

Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, in introductory remarks at the car show, asked Western participants to make contributions to the factory, saying the fire was no one's fault, although a government commission was still investigating the accident.

The fire, to the KamAZ factory in Tatarstan, caused an estimated $1 billion in damage and hurt other truck producers who rely on engines from the plant.

The car expo, which opened at the Exhibition Complex on Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya hosts over 230 companies, promoting vehicles and accessories produced in 26 countries, including some of the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.

The exhibition will continue until July 22.

Russia's largest car producers, Avtovaz and ZAZ, displayed new, sportier designs with larger but more fuel-efficient engines, but company executives said they would not hit the market until 1995. A ZAZ spokesman said the factory was still not flexible enough to readjust its production lines.

A private firm called Mirazh, set up in 1991, exhibited a prototype of a jeep it designed last year.

"We hope this exhibition will help us find sponsors for a regular production of our model", a Mirazh spokeswoman said.

Sellers of Western-made cars, meanwhile, were exhibiting models made especially for Russia and Eastern Europe.

A spokeswoman for the MTD Service company trading in Volvos said the producers set up a new production line two years ago to make a special East European model, the Volvo-850 GLT, which is adjusted to use Russia's most available petrol, A-93.

A representative of the Swiss-based firm Lirus-Motors trading in Hyundai cars said the firm had just established a network of dealers throughout Russia.