Things are not going well in Russia. The country's leader, Vladimir Putin, has been described as "something of a meglalomaniac" and as a "narcissist." His actions have plunged Russia into conflict in the Ukraine and run the country afoul of Western powers who have issued strict sanctions. Russia's economy is being punished by excessively low oil prices and its currency, the ruble, is bearing the brunt of these misfortunes. These are recent developments, though; Russia's auto industry has been broken since long before Putin, shown above behind the wheel of a Lada Granta, came into power.

The New York Times has published an extensive and interesting writeup on the misfortunes that have befallen Russia's most well-known automaker, Lada. The company's share of the Russian car market has fallen from 70 percent when the Soviet Union collapsed, to just 17 percent today. Its cars are notoriously poorly built, and have, on more than one occasion, starred as objects of derision for the team at Top Gear.

To turn the struggling automaker around, the Russian government, which owns 75 percent of Lada's parent company, Avtovaz, along with Renault-Nissan, have brought in Bo Inge Andersson. The 59-year-old Swedish-American served stints at General Motors before helping turn around commercial vehicle producer, GAZ. Now, he's trying to turn around Lada by overcoming Soviet era attitudes, and he's not making friends along the way.

Check out The New York Times' full piece on Andersson and Lada.


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