• Apr 16th 2007 at 11:06AM
  • 13

The list of great minds and technological marvels that Russia has gifted the world is most impressive: Sikorsky, Sputnik, Hind, Mig, Ivan Drago (the bad guy in Rocky IV). The fact is, though, that none of those names have to do with cars. The list of automobiles that the Russians have foisted on the world is somewhat ignominious: Lada, Volga, Oda, Moskvitch. Regrettably, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov is so confident that that isn't going to change any time soon that he said there are no "promising" models now and no viable future for Russian car companies.

Of course, being Russia, there is -- or at least could be -- a backstory involving a political competitor, an arms exporter, government funds, and a presidential race. While no one can speak for the future, as far as promising models right now, Ivanov really could be more right than wrong. You can buy the pictured Lada 112 in France right now for 8,200 euros -- but would you really take it over . . . almost anything else?

[Source: Edmunds]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think it's a bit early for the Russians to count themselves out. The Russian aviation industry is struggling but gradually they are inking deals, attracting investment and transforming their industry to serve domestic and foreign customers (and not just in weapons).

      I think it will take a long time, but there's no reason to think that Russian auto industry will be any different.
      • 8 Years Ago
      There have been several interesting VAZ (Lada) prototypes by the russians, but none of them have reached production yet. The current 110-serie models are outdated for sure, but are also lowest costing cars around and have a very roomy station wagon, costing under 12,000 euros. For that amount no competitor has a big family stw for sale.

      Lada has a great (although short) history filled with interesting models and prototypes (Wankel-engines, racing, biofuels, etc.) so it would be very sad to see this giant go down. I personally love the old 70's and 80's Ladas. No driving aids, reasonable gas consumption and RWD. Helluva fun to drive!
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Lada imported to Canada was a version of the Fiat 124. The quality wasn't up to snuff and the AMC dealers were trying to divert the customer to something else. Even so, there are still Niva's on the road. The Lada was a basic car in competition with the VW Beetle and never did quite make it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Loooooool, that car looks like a mix of Taurus (old one)and Protégé (old again) hatchback.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Apparently Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov thinks there is.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lada 112 is kinda old.
      Here's the really new stuff:
      That's Lada Priora btw.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The russians have gotten realistic. next on the chopping block, their space program
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree, the LADA 4 x 4 is actually known as the NIVA and does have that psuedo, "I'm an old school badass look to it". Unfortunately it comes with a small 1.8 engine and questionable 4 wheel drive system. All can be yours for 15K USD.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sikorsky is a Connecticut-based company that was founded by a Polish-Ukrainian immigrant; in what way was/is it a Russian company?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here's Lada's official site btw
      and Priora's promo site
      there are more Ladas photos if anyone is interested
      • 8 Years Ago

      Well, i suppose it's more about shitty quality of our cars then anything else. AvtoVAZ (the company behind Lada brend) had full governmental support since i don't know 1990s (and it was the biggest passenger cars manufacturer during the USSR times for all the eastern block) and what have they did with such support? A couple of restylings of old models (11x project is a deep restyling of 2108/2109 project, Priora which have just gone on sale in Russia for a whopping $10K -- that's a lot for a Russian car, believe me -- is just a restyled Lada 110), one really new but really late model (Lada Kalina) which supposed to be released in 1990s and was released in 2005. And... well, that's all.

      During that time we've seen here a completely new assembly lines rise right from the ground: Ford built a plant near Saint Petersburg (you can get a very decent european Ford Focus 2 here for under $15K which makes Priora somewhat pointless for it's price); Renault restored some parts of AZLK (the maker of Moskvitch which went bankrupt in 90s) and are making Logans in Moscow ($10K, same as Priora and i'd buy it over Priora any time of day or night, it's just better made car, it doesn't fail on you 10 kms from the dealer); we're literally flooded with cheap and very high quality Korean cars (Daewoo aka Chevrolet here, Hyndai); Mitsubishi is very agressive here (Lancer for $15K or for $18K for the new model) and it's Japanese, assembled in Japan -- no Lada can come close to this quality.

      What's even more important we have hundreds of thousands used cars from Japan -- yeah, the steering in on the wrong side but who cares if you can get yourself something like Toyota Mark II 2.5L for $5-7K? All Europe is selling it's used or crashed cars to Russia, our goverment have set several barriers to protect local plants and assembly lines but they still are overrun because any (ANY) 5 years old Volkswagen would be by far a better car than the new Lada Priora and it would cost _less_.

      The trouble with our own auto makers is that they just can't compete. Their technology is too old and they -- i don't know, maybe too proud of doing what China is doing right now (stealing parts and technologies from Japanese and European companies). So they just sit still and waiting doing nothing with the time we grant them.

      We have incredible customs protection barriers for importing cars -- something like BMW 330i which you can get in the USA for $30K cost a freaking 60K Euro here because of these barriers. The people are really tired here sponsoring our auto makers while they don't make shit. But it looks like we're finally being approved as a member of WTO and that means that most of barriers will go away -- and that's why Ivanov is saying that he doesn't see any future in Russian auto industry -- he's talking about AvtoVAZ/Lada really because all the others are either already dead (AZLK) or have changed their focus to trucks and military cars (GAZ and KAMAZ).

      The time for Lada to come up with a good car has gone. They are trying to make a new C-platform with Magna right now but even the first car on this new platform will go on sale in 2009 at the earliest and by that time most of the import barriers would be gone and most of world's leading auto makers will have a strong local presence (Ford, Renault, BMW are already making their cars here; Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen are building their plants here; Mitsubishi is considering building their plant in Russia). So it's gonna be a battle where Lada will compete with all these international monsters without any support from the government. It's highly unlikely that Lada can win this battle.

      (I do have some faith in GAZ though -- they are very successful on the small trucks front and they can make a successful comeback of Pobeda and Volga brands later, but these would be luxury cars and not something as mass produced as Lada are right now.)

      P.S. As for the broken sunglass holder -- well, that's what you get from the _new_ Lada -- it brokes on you right in the showroom, it brokes 5 kilometers from the dealer, in brokes every freaking week, you really are going from a dealer straight to the auto service if you buy a Lada because you need to change some things and fix some things right from the start.

      Sorry for the long post =) I've always been somewhat of a supporter of our cars but their inability to produce anything decent has too far. I'm driving a Mazda 3 right now and any Russian car have YEARS to go to get the quality and usability of a Mazda (which cost me $25K for 1.6l with AT -- a price we all pay so our lovely AvtoVAZ can make shitty cars and not worry about any competition).
      • 8 Years Ago
      I cant read Russian so I dont know if the article mentioned anything about it...

      I'm originally from Belarus (former USSR) and can say that middle-class Russians rarely purchase Russian cars. Most Russians go for Japanese and Korean imports that are far more expensive due to the stiff import tariffs. However; Ford, GM, and Toyota make cars in Russia that are not subject to this tariff. I know for fact that the Focus, Hummer H3 and Avenis (similiar to Corolla) are assembled in Russia.

      As to the broken sunglass holder, the Russian jouranalist did indeed make a sly comment about the poor build quality. Even so, the Lada Priora is one of the cheapest cars you can buy at around $11k new.
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