Volkswagen plant in Russia is operable

Wednesday marked the launch of the plant's first production unit, which will eventually employ 3,000 workers who'll build 115,000 cars a year.

It's located in the Kaluga region, about 160 kilometres from Moscow, and VW plans to use it to triple its market share in Russia to 10% in the next 3 years.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has lent the company $US 1.12 billion for the project, the largest loan in the EBRD's history.

The factory can produce almost 70,000 cars a year, but this will eventually increase to 115,000.