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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

AvtoVAZ May Build New GM Model

bloombergAn Opel Corsa on display at a London car show last year. An AvtoVAZ venture could build 20,000 cars per year.
General Motors could sign an agreement next month with AvtoVAZ to produce a new Opel Corsa model at its joint venture with Russia's top carmaker, Vedomosti reported Monday.

The agreement to produce what would be a third model for the Tolyatti-based venture could be signed during a visit to Russia by GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster, the newspaper said, citing two sources in the AvtoVAZ management.

The venture could produce around 20,000 cars per year, Vedomosti said, adding that AvtoVAZ, which has long sought to start producing new models with GM, could itself raise the $50 million to $100 million needed to expand the facilities.

Marc Kempe, a spokesman for GM Europe, said he could not confirm the report. He noted that Forster regularly traveled to Russia, one of GM's priority markets in Europe.

"It's quite possible that Russia could become the third- or fourth-biggest market for GM in Europe this year," Kempe said by telephone.

AvtoVAZ spokesman Ivan Skrylnik was not available for comment Monday.

GM-AvtoVAZ makes Chevy Niva sport utility vehicles and Viva sedans.

Sales of the Viva, a Russian version of the Opel Astra, have been sluggish.

GM and AvtoVAZ each hold 41.5 percent in the joint venture, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development holds the remaining 17 percent.

GM-AvtoVAZ plans to make 49,000 units this year, the venture said in November.