Russia may tighten rules for foreign car makers-report

MOSCOW, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed tightening the regulations surrounding the assembly of foreign cars in Russia in order to boost domestic production, Kommersant business daily said on Monday.

The ministry wants to renew current agreements that give preference for importing auto parts and components with major car producers which have opened car plants in Russia.

Companies likely to be affected include GM [GM.UL], Toyota 7203.T, Nissan 7201.T, Hyundai 005380.KS, Ford F.N, Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE and Peugeot-Citroen PEUP.PA.

The ministry has proposed keeping the preferences for eight years in exchange for obligations from each carmaker to create production lines within four years.

The production lines should have a capacity of 300,000 cars, 200,000 engines or transmissions, a press operation line and a local auto design bureau.

The ministry also proposed that each company should invest at least $500 million.

Current agreements say a car producer should, within seven years, set up fabrication lines, paint coating and assembly lines, as well as cut the import of auto parts by one third.

However, the ministry has no right to make carmakers sign the new agreemements, but hopes they will serve as a guidance that they will sign under their own free will, Kommersant said, quoting an industry source.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, foreign carmakers produced 360,000 units in 2009.

Russian car sales soared 45 percent year-on-year in June as a state scrappage scheme and wider economic recovery boosted the formerly troubled industry. [ID:nLDE6670O4] (Reporting by Dmitry Sergeyev; Editing by Hans Peters)