Uzbekistan plans to set up production of large trucks and buses at SamAvto, the Samarkand Automobile Plant, a source at Uzavtoprom told Interfax. The Uzbek government passed a resolution outlining measures to expand the products SamAvto produces, he said. Uzavtoprom held talks with Japanese auto makers Itochu Corp and Isuzu Motors Ltd to examine the possibility for setting up production of large trucks and buses at SamAvto, he said. The two companies signed an agreement for technical assistance in which the Uzbek auto plant received the technology to produce buses and small trucks. SamAvto will produce 1,500 vehicles this year under the plant growth program. It will gradually increase that to the target level of 4,000 vehicles a year. SamAvto, formerly SamKocAuto, was formed in 1996 by Uzavtoprom and Turkey’s Koc Holding with equal shares to produce small trucks (1.5 to 8 tonne trucks) and buses. Uzavtoprpom, the enterprise that includes automobile plants in Uzbekistan, bought out Koc Holding’s share in the joint venture in October 2006 to become the sole owner.
Uzavtoprom reached an agreement with Itochu Corp and the Chinese state company that imports and exports automobiles for delivery of sample vehicles, including Isuzu trucks and Golden Dragon city and tour buses. The government has told Uzavtoprom to examine the technical and performance specifications of the vehicles and draw up a program to set up production at SamAvto. The resolution did not specify any deadline. SamAvto on January 22 of this year began producing buses using Isuzu chasses.