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Chinese carmaker Great Wall opens factory in Russia

MOSCOW, June 5 (Reuters) - Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor has started production at a plant in the Tula region of central Russia with a manufacturing capacity of 80,000 cars a year, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade said on Wednesday.

By 2020, the factory's capacity will almost double to 150,000 cars, the ministry said in a statement.

Total investments in the plant, which the automaker said was "the largest investment project of the Chinese manufacturing industry in Russia," are estimated at $500 million, Great Wall said in a separate statement.

Great Wall will produce Haval F7 models at the Tula factory.

In 2018 the Chinese firm increased sales in Russia by 70% to 3,213 cars, according to the Automobile Manufacturers Committee of the Association of European Businesses. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Anton Kolodyazhnyy Editing by Louise Heavens)