Algeria has inaugurated a new Renault factory in the western city of Oran marking the North African country's first foray into the auto industry.

The joint French-Algerian operation is being billed as the rebirth of Algeria's industry as the country increasingly imports its manufactured goods.

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius opened the factory Monday in a ceremony marked by great pomp.

The plant will manufacture 25,000 Renault Symbol cars a year for the Algerian market.

It will employ 126 workers at first, later rising to 350. The goal is to eventually produce 75,000 cars.

The plant represents a rare foreign investment success story for oil-rich Algeria, which has a restrictive investment environment, including a 2009 law limiting foreign ventures to 49 percent ownership.