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SAMARA, October 30 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s major carmaker AVTOVAZ started pre-commercial assembling of LADA Granta cars this week, the plant’s press centre reported.
According to the press centre, the plant is expected to produce 250 sedans of this model before the end of this month. The biggest part of cars from this batch will be delivered to dealers for their demonstration in car dealer centres and for test drive by potential buyers, the press centre said.
The company plans to start sales of LADA Grantas through its dealer centres in December 2011, the press centre said. Pre-ordering of the cars of this model opened in September, the press centre said, adding that the cars of the first batch have already been reserved in full.
LADA Granta is a car of economy class, which is designated on the Kalina platform, “but it will be more safe, modern and comfortable than Kalina,” the press centre quoted AVTOVAZ president Igor Komarov as saying earlier.
The Granta range, known internally as VAZ 2190, includes a sedan, followed by a hatchback, and is expected to replace the LADA Kalina and Samara. When the Granta goes into production at the AVTOVAZ home plant in Togliatti, production of the older LADA models will be shifted to Izhevsk.
The car price in the “standard” version amounts to 229,000 roubles (USD 1 = RUB 29.89), while a car in the “normal” version costs 256,000 roubles, which makes cars of this model the lowest-priced cars built in Europe.
The new LADA is mainly designed for the Russian market, but the management of AVTOVAZ does not ruled out the possibility of starting exports of the car to Western Europe, the press centre said.
By 2020, AVTOVAZ plans to produce nine models based on three or four basic platforms in six market segments, with its three flagship models (low-cost series, new Priora and C-class) accounting for 70 percent of total production. By that time the company intends to increase sales to 1.2 million cars a year. This year, the company expects to produce 571,000 cars, the press centre said.
AVTOVAZ is Russia’s major car manufacturer, also known as VAZ, Volzhsky Auto Plant, and better known to the world as LADA, was set up in the late 1960s in collaboration with Italy’s Fiat. It is 25 percent owned by French giant Renault.
It produces nearly one million cars a year, including the Kalina, LADA110 and the NIVA off-road vehicles.
However, the original Fiat-24-based vehicle, the VAZ-2102 and its derivatives, remain the models most associated with its LADA brand.
The VAZ factory is one of the biggest in the world, with over 144 kilometres of production lines, and is unique in that most of the components for the cars are made in-house.
The original LADA was a basic car, lacking in most luxuries expected in cars of its time and was patterned after the Fiat 124. LADAs were available in several Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, though trade sanctions banned their export to the United States. Sales to Italy were forbidden by the agreement between the Soviet government and Fiat, to protect Fiat from cheap imports in its home market.