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Intrall to start car production in Poland in 2013?


International Truck Alliance (Intrall), a Russian car maker, has confirmed reports that it is considering the opening of a factory of light trucks in Poland.

According to Stanislav Shelestov, a former Intrall executive tipped for a senior role at the new venture, quoted by Puls Biznesu, the company aims to locate in Poland a complex consisting of an R&D facility and a manufacturing plant with the capacity for prototype production and small-scale serial production. The unit would employ several hundred workers.

According to earlier reports, Intrall is exploring several potential locations in Poland, including former shipyard areas in Gdynia and Szczecin, with the latter site seen as particularly interesting due to the proximity of the German market and a rich pool of engineering skills.

The Polish project is part of a wider investment programme that envisages the construction of a large factory of trucks and off-roaders in Stavropol in Southern Russia, which would be the main customer for the Polish plant. The Stavropol plant is to come online in late 2013 and to reach full capacity in 2014. The facility in Poland would be built under a similar timeframe.

Intrall has a less-than-successful history of car production in Poland. In 2003 it acquired rights to produce Lublin vans at the former factory of Daewoo Motor, the bankrupt Korean car manufacturer, in the city of Lublin, but in 2007 its Polish unit, too, filed for bankruptcy. However, Mr. Shelestov attributes the failure to unfavourable sentiment among Polish officials to Russian investors at the time, and draws optimism from the recent thaw in the relations between the two countries.

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