The world's biggest carmakers have until the end of Monday to sign up for Russia's latest scheme to entice major players and strengthen its local industry ahead of any future crisis.
Russia was on the verge of overtaking Germany to become Europe's biggest car market before the country's 2009 recession caused annual sales to collapse by half.
A sharp recovery in 2010 -- aided by a government sponsored scrappage scheme -- has revived industry optimism about future Russian growth and prompted state attempts to pin down foreign players to invest and support the domestic industry.
The Russian market is very significant and is forecast to remain significant, said David Thomas, chairman of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) autos committee and head of Volvo cars in Russia.
It will get to 4 million units (from 1.91 million in 2010). There is some debate as to when that will be but it is very much the view.
Other U.S. and European carmakers have submitted a memorandum of intent to the Russian government ahead of Monday's deadline that could see local production rising sharply in exchange for lower import tariffs.
The new regulations -- known as 'decree 166' -- were only announced in late December and will demand a commitment to build at least 300,000 cars a year per production site by 2015, up from just 25,000 according to the existing framework.
In return, car manufacturers will not pay import duties on car components for eight years while the local supply chain improves.
The industry view is that that is a significant change at short notice (but) it's best to try to remain in (Decree) 166, Thomas said.
If you can find a local player close to that capacity it (the 300,000 target) could be fairly easy to bridge, he added.
Sollers instead got together with Ford
One major player yet to reveal its hand is General Motors
A spokesman for GM declined to comment.
(Reporting by John Bowker; Editing by Louise Heavens)