NIZHNY NOVGOROD, September 26 (Itar-Tass) — GAZ Group will deliver 169 buses of the middle class to Nicaragua. The company’s press service reported on Monday that the first batch of 30 buses KAVZ-4328 “Aurora” produced by the Kurgan Bus Plant (part of GAZ Group) will be sent to the capital of this Latin American country in October. The remaining buses will be shipped in the first half of 2012. “The buses are to be used for work both in the capital of Nicaragua and for the transportation of passengers on commuter and intercity routes,” the press service specified.
GAZ Group representatives noted that within the framework of fulfilling the Nicaraguan order the Kurgan Bus Plant introduced a number of changes in the buses’ design un order to improve their performance in conditions of rough terrain with a wet tropical climate. In particular, the side windows have been made larger it size, the floors and stairs faced with fluted aluminium, tinted glass installed in the passenger compartment, as well as vandal-proof seats with soft inserts on the back and pillow and a special air intake system on the roof. In addition, the buses use tires adapted for the tropical climate.
“This is not the first experience of cooperation of GAZ Group with the Nicaraguan partners,” the press service reported. Over the past three years, 380 buses manufactured by the Kurgan Bus Plant have been supplied to this country for the renewal of the passenger fleet of its capital within the framework of free technical assistance of the Russian government. Today, KAVZ “Aurora” buses account for 40 percent of the public transport fleet of Managua that has established a comprehensive system of servicing these vehicles in full compliance with the needs of passenger transportation.
GAZ Group is the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in Russia. It brings together 18 industrial enterprises in 10 Russian regions, as well as sales and service organisation. The company manufactures light and medium-tonnage commercial vehicles, heavy trucks, buses, cars, road construction equipment, power plants and automotive components. It is the commercial vehicles market leader.
GAZ (RTS:GAZA) or Gorky Automobile Plant, started in 1929 as NAZ, a cooperation between Ford and the Soviet Union. It is one of the largest companies in the Russian automotive industry. GAZ is a part of GAZ Group holding which comprises 18 plants in 10 regions of Russia. The headquarters of GAZ Group is located in Nizhny Novgorod. Russian Machines Corporation is the controlling shareholder in OAO GAZ. GAZ Group produces light commercial and medium-duty vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, buses, cars, construction and road-building equipment, powertrain and automotive components.
GAZ Group is the leader of the Russian commercial vehicles market. The market shares of the company: about 50 percent in the light commercial vehicles segment, about 45 percent in the all-wheel-drive heavy-duty trucks segment, about 70 percent in the bus segment and over 40 percent in the engines segment.
In 2006, GAZ made a move on the LDV company based in Birmingham, England, and acquired the van maker from the venture capital group Sun European Partners in July of that year. GAZ said that they planned to market the MAXUS (LDV’s new Panel-van, that was released in January 2005) into the rest of Europe and Asia. GAZ proposed to increase production in the LDV plant in England, while also commencing production of the MAXUS in a new plant in Russia. However, due to the recession, the production at the LDV plant was halted and the plant was sold to a Chinese company ECO Concept in 2009.
As then DaimlerChrysler modernised its Sterling Heights Assembly plant in 2006, the old Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Stratus assembly line and tooling was sold to GAZ and was shipped to Nizhny Novgorod in Russia. To produce the Sebring vehicle in Nizhny Novgorod, GAZ built a modern production facility with a high degree of automation. The Sebring vehicle with minor design changes was produced by GAZ from 2008 until the end of 2010 when it was phased out due to the economic crisis. GAZ car facility will be used for contract manufacturing for foreign automakers Volkswagen and General Motors.
In 2010 GAZ upgraded its model range by launching new GAZelle-BUSINESS lineup with diesel and petrol engines and LPG equipment.
In September 2010 GAZ Group signed a memorandum of understanding with FAW, one of the leading Chinese automakers, to set up a heavy-duty trucks joint venture in Russia. According to the MoU the joint venture will be organized at the facilities GAZ Group’s Ural plant. In December 2010 GAZ Group signed a memorandum of understanding with Daimler on contract manufacturing of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter at GAZ plant in Nizhny Novgorod. It is expected that production will start in 2012.
In February 2011 General Motors and GAZ Group signed a memorandum of understanding on contract assembly of new Chevrolet Aveo small car at GAZ’s facility in Nizhny Novgorod. Start of production is planned for mid 2012. In May 2011 GAZ Group entered into a joint venture agreement with Terex Corporation. The joint venture will manufacture construction and road-building equipment at some of GAZ plants. It is expected that the joint venture will start operation in early 2012.
In June 2011 Volkswagen Group Rus and GAZ Group signed a long-term agreement on contract manufacturing of 110,000 cars at GAZ plant. It is planned to produce the new Volkswagen Jetta, Skoda Octavia, and Skoda Yeti cars. In 2011 GAZ announced that it had started pre-production for the new-generation light commercial vehicle GAZelle-Next. The new GAZ model will be launched into mass production in 2013.