For the first time in around 40 years, the best selling car in Russia is not a Lada, as supplier troubles mean the brand's Granta subcompact was overtaken by the Kia Rio in November.
With the punishing set of responsibilities that come with command of three automakers, 60-year-old Carlos Ghosn is arguably the hardest working man in the auto industry. While his capabilities can hardly be doubted, it's quite clear that he can't do this job forever. And that's probably going to be bad news for the Renault-Nissan Alliance he so successfully helms.
With the Russian market growing into one of the largest in the world, automakers from around the world descended this past weekend on the Moscow Motor Show in pursuit of a slice of that pie. But you can bet that Lada, one of Russia's biggest domestic players, wasn't going to miss out on the opportunity to roll out its latest, and that's just what it did.
It's not every day that a new Niva comes along. Lada has, after all, been producing its version since 1977, and through a joint venture between AvtoVaz and General Motors, a Chevy-badged version since 1998. Sure, there's been talk of creating a new one. Bertone even gave it a facelift a few years ago. But what we have here could be the biggest step forward in the history of one of the oldest models still on the road.
There are auto marques you'd associate with racing and those you wouldn't. Names like Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Ferrari, Ford and Chevy would fall firmly in the former category. Lada... slightly less so. The Russian automaker is remembered (when it is remembered, anyway) for its no-frills, Soviet-era automobiles – many of which it's still making today. Hardly the kind of machinery you'd want to take to the racetrack, but Lada and its parent company AvtoVAZ set out to upset that notion when it
Although we haven't heard much official news about the return of the Datsun brand since Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made the announcement back in March, we now have a little more information about Nissan's new budget brand. Automotive News Europe is reporting that the new breed of Datsun products will go on sale by the end of 2013 and will be based on cars from the Russian automaker, Lada, which is currently part of the Nissan-Renault family.
When is the last time you watched five minutes of video on a Lada that didn't involve dual power windows, fires or Fifth Gear? Don't feel bad if the answer is, "What's Russian for 'never'?", but now's a good time to change that. Lada wants the world to know that it's no longer the old Lada, revealing its very brown and rather sleek XRay concept at the Moscow Motor Show, and it didn't stop at taking a mound of photos in order to show it off.
We've seen the tactic plenty of times before: an automaker that wants to up its game, so it hires a designer from a brand it seeks to emulate, then releases concepts that make people go "Ooh la la." Lada is the latest, having hired Steve Mattin to be its design head. Mattin is coming off tenures as senior designer at Mercedes-Benz and chief designer at Volvo before emigrating to the Russian side of life (although the company's design bureau is in Milan, Italy).
Renault-Nissan aims to increase its stake in Avtovaz, giving the alliance majority control over Russia's largest automaker. The deal will likely see Renault and Nissan vehicles manufactured beside Lada models in the near future. Avtovaz recently finished a new production facility in Togliatti where the three brands plan to produce up to 1.6 million units per year. That move would make the Togliatti plant one of the largest automotive manufacturing facilities in the world. The companies expect th
"It's time to say goodbye," said AvtoVAZ spokesman Igor Burenkov to Russia's RIA Novosti about the end of Lada 2107 production, which happened this week. The Lada 2107, also called the Lada Riva, has been plying Russian roads since before Ronald Reagan started redesigning walls. It's one of the cars you're most likely to see in grainy film and video clips from the days before Glastnost.
We imagine that many a Russian Lada has been compared to a ticking time bomb – which is not to say that there aren't any good Ladas out in the wild, of course – but the example you'll see in the video pasted below takes the cake. It is, quite literally, an Improvised Explosive Device.
To paraphrase the Almond Joy commercial, sometimes you feel like a tint, sometimes you don't. In states like California, having any tint on your front windows is verboten. It's only casually enforced, but it's still illegal. In that case, something like this setup might come in handy: a Russian gent on installed two power windows in one door, and tinted one of them.
It's not every day that Lada comes out with a new car. In fact, the Samara – which the model you see here is set to replace – has been on the market pretty much unchanged since 1997. (And that's not even their oldest model: the Niva 4x4 has been out there since 1977.) So the launch of the new Granta is a bit of an occasion for the Russian automaker and its parent company, AvtoVaz.
During the first quarter of 2010, Russian automaker Avtovaz lost 2.6 billion rubles ($85M U.S.). In the second quarter it made almost a third of that back when it posted a net profit of one billion rubles ($32.7M U.S). The spike came courtesy of Russia's cash-for-clunkers program, which more than doubled the firm's sales over Q1 numbers to 149,100 cars.