2 Aug 2010 14:25

TagAZ begins assembling Chinese BYD automobiles

ROSTOV-ON-DON. Aug 2 (Interfax) - LLC Taganrog Automobile Plant (TagAZ) has begun producing China's BYD automobiles, company representative Yelena Larina told Interfax.

The first test vehicles have already rolled off the line, spokesman for the TagAZ workers union Sergei Penchukov said. TagAZ has already dismantled its Hyundai production lines, which were making Sonatas and Elantras, he said.

TagAZ plans included launching production of the BYD model F3 by the end of July and building around 10,000 of them this year. The automobiles will be built in full-cycle production assemblage, beginning with a basic model and then expanding to two others in the fall.

TagAZ's own dealer network will be selling the vehicles, but the company has yet to announce a base sticker price.

TagAZ also plans to set up production under the name Taganrog Auto Enterprise (Taganevtoprom), which will lease TagAZ production premises.

Taganrog Automobile Plant has approached its creditor-banks asking for a debt restructure. Altogether, TagAZ owes twelve banks - including Sberbank of Russia , VTB , and Gazprombank - roughly 21 billion rubles (including over 6 billion owed just to Sberbank).

Founded in February of 1997, TagAZ began making Hyundai Accents, Elantras, Sonatas, Santa Fe Classics, and Porters in 2001.