MOSCOW, Sept. 7, 2014 / PRNewswire — AvtoVAZ, the largest automaker based in Russia, a part of Rostec Corporation, announced that it has introduced three new concept cars at the Moscow International Motor Show 2014. All are aimed to attract foreign and domestic customers as well as “restore people’s pride for the brand of LADA” according to AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Inge Andersson.
The move comes on the heels of AvtoVAZ-Renault-Nissan becoming the fourth largest manufacturer of automobiles worldwide following several successful moves by Rostec. Having become a shareholder of AvtoVAZ in 2008, Rostec appointed a group of managers to develop AvtoVAZ in 2009. The team presented AvtoVAZ to several strategic investment groups, and in the end settled on the deal with Renault-Nissan. Together, the new automotive alliance set up a joint manufacturing process in AvtoVAZ’s home town of Togliatti, Samara Oblast, Russia, in 2012.
The three new models that premiered in Moscow further push the envelope of LADA development, which is now the most desired Russian-made auto brand in Russia. With future visions of its flagship LADA Vesta, the contemporary hatchback LADA XRAY SUV and race-ready LADA Vesta WTCC, AvtoVAZ has gone beyond technologies and ideas originally injected into its manufacturing process by its new partners.
LADA Vesta, based on a new Russian platform B/C and developed by AvtoVAZ engineers in collaboration with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, will be produced in Izhevsk, Russia starting fall 2015. LADA XRAY, a hatchback SUV based on the B0 platform, was developed by AvtoVAZ stylists while its body was developed jointly by Renault and AvtoVAZ. Production is scheduled to start in 2016 in Togliatti.
The LADA Vesta WTCC concept, reflecting the motorsport aspirations of AvtoVAZ and LADA Sport, is designed to meet the rigorous World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) requirements. The new design is expected to be track launched in 2015, with the first road tests planned for spring 2015.
With sales in Russia going strong and getting stronger, AvtoVAZ is now eyeing foreign markets.
“We keep looking for new countries and market opportunities for our exports,” says Andersson. “While we have been in Nordic and European countries traditionally, we are now entering Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. We are taking it one step at a time.”
One such market is the Middle East. AvtoVAZ and its LADA brand have been active in the MENA automotive market for decades. From pre-war Iraq to Egypt, LADA models had gained popularity and earned a reputation of highly durable cars. While international sales declined in recent years, Russia was still able to export over 38,000 assembly kits to Egypt between 2002 and 2013.
Andersson, a former GM executive, reconfirmed LADA’s appetite for the Egyptian market: “Egypt for us is interesting and we are looking at all options including seeking production.” In an exclusive interview at the Motor Show, Andersson also noted that while upgrading the image of LADA, AvtoVAZ will keep it “to the basic things” meaning that the models will retain their functionality, will be easy to repair and will be “relatively low-cost” vehicles.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Al Amal Co. is making efforts to continue negotiating a deal with AvtoVAZ, which would grant the company rights to assemble its current model LADA Granta in Egypt, where no LADAs are assembled now. LADA Granta is one of the newer models in AutoVaz’s overhauled line-up. An upcoming Vesta is a child of a renowned British designer Steve Mattin who served as senior design manager at Mercedes-Benz and later as chief designer at Volvo.
About Rostec. Rostec is a Russian state corporation established in late 2007 to promote development, production and export of hi-tech industrial products for civil and defense sectors. It brings together 663 entities, which form 13 holding companies. Eight holding companies operate in the defense-industry complex and five of them are involved in civil sectors. Rostec’s organizations are located in 60 constituents of the Russian Federation and supply goods to over 70 countries worldwide.
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