All eyes have been on Renault since acquiring a 25% stake in Russian automaker Avtovaz. The French carmaker headed by the venerable Carlos Ghosn beat out Fiat and General Motors to acquire the interest in Lada's parent company, but then the economy tanked and Ghosn was left holding his hat.
Original plans centered around new product launches to re-invigorate the Russian automaker, starting with the Concept C unveiled at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. But Renault has reportedly now changed its strategy, putting new Ladas on hold. Instead, they'll be showing the Ruskies how to build the cars they already build, but better. The plan is apparently taken out of the Volkswagen playbook, as implemented after the German group's acquisition of Skoda, which has apparently been working pretty well for them so far.
The focus of Renault's attention in Russia will start on the existing Kalina, applying lessons which "the West learned over 40 years" on a quicker learning curve. Once Ghosn and company feel Avtovaz has got the quality issue down pat, then it will begin to roll out new products based on Renault and Nissan platforms, currently pegged for somewhere around 2012 to 2014. Better hunker down, comrades: this could take a while.
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