Midland manufacturer Stadco has invested 50 million euros (£35.8 million) to set up the first modern stampings factory in Russia.
Stadco, which employs 950 people across the Midlands, is about to start work on the factory in Vsevolozhsk, close to St Petersburg.
The 100 million euro (£71 million) site is a joint venture between Stadco and Spanish engineering group Gestamp Automocion.
Both firms will own an equal share in the dedicated body in white (BIW) stampings and assembly plant in Northern Russia.
The project has already won orders from Ford, which has a factory close to St Petersburg, while Stadco is aiming to make the most of other opportunities in the region which has been dubbed the Detroit of Russia.
Toyota, General Motors, Nissan and Mitsubishi are also in the process of setting up plants in the country in order to satisfy the growing market.
Work has begun on building the 15 acre site, which will employ 800 people when it begins operations in January 2008.
The deal follows consultancy work carried out by Stadco with Severstal Auto, a maker of four-wheel drive vehicles and Fiat vans.
Andrew Morriss, managing director at Stadco, said: "We have an ambition to grow in Russia.
"The aim of the St Petersburg joint venture is to win work with all the major manufacturers who are moving into the area."
The factory is a completely new venture, which will make bonnets, doors and hoods for cars, with an initial contract to supply into the Ford Focus production line.
Mr Morriss said: "This will exclusively supply the Russian market. In the past lots of manufacturers had to import body panels, but there are massive tariff barriers.
Stadco is funding its half of the 100 million euro development cost from a range of investors and support from its parent company Acertec.
When the factory is operational, it will have around 30 to 40 Stadco staff working there.
Mr Morriss said: "Ford are in the country first and is developing a critical mass in vehicle manufacture.
"We need a certain volume to justify our investment, but they are making around 75,000 Ford Focuses a year at the plant.
"The companies have been importing the parts as kits so far, but it is our ambition to grow the site further to meet the demand from the other manufacturers who are setting up in the area."
Mr Morriss added: "Russia is one of the fastest growing automotive markets and producers in the world.
"There have been no problems so far. It is different doing business in Russia, the laws are different and there are lots of steps you have to go through.
"But it is not that different to Britain, getting planning approval for example is much the same."
"We are very optimistic about this," added Mr Morriss. "The whole of Russia is recovering from the post Soviet era and is growing in confidence.
"There is a huge amount of investment going on in the country's manufacturing and beyond. They need expertise by importing people with skills and knowledge to help them progress.
"It also gives our UK staff who want to work over there for a time the opportunity to work in a different environment."
Mr Morriss added that the production would not detract from Stadco's efforts in the UK, where it has sites in Shrewsbury, Castle Bromwich, Coventry, Birmingham and Powys.
He said: "This is about the future growth of the company. The UK automotive market is fairly static.
"If we want to grow we have to go overseas. The only impact for the business here will be for people with the skills and experience who want to go overseas. It's our intention to grow in Russia." :