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SAMARA, December 22 (Itar-Tass) —— A new popular car LADA Granta starts selling in Russia on Thursday, AvtoVAZ’ press centre said.
The car will be available in the country’s all regions.
AvtoVAZ did its best to promote its new model of the people’s car to the market, the press centre said. For instance, the name of the new model was opted as a result of the opinion poll that was held by the company.
Besides, the car-maker held promo-actions and presentations at the Moscow Manezh exhibition centre. The exhibition entitled “AvtoVAZ: People and Cars,” was devoted to the 45th anniversary of the plant. In addition, the company represented the new model at the Moscow international car show, helps the LADA Granta Cup races and others, the press centre said.
Russia’s major carmaker AvtoVAZ launched commercial production of LADA Granta cars in November 2011, the plant’s press centre said, adding that the first car is painted in the “white cloud” colour. LADA Granta is a car of economy class with front-wheel drive, 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. AvtoVAZ will start production of LADA Grantas in two basic versions – “standard” and “normal.”
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 models. 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 32.03) (as of December 2011), while a car in the “normal” version costs 256,000 roubles, which makes cars of this model the lowest-priced cars manufacrured in Europe. The new LADA is designed mainly for the Russian market, but the management of AvtoVAZ does not ruled out the possibility of starting export of the car to Western Europe, the press centre said.
The new model was designed with the use of Renault-Nissan digital technologies and methods. Granta has an eight-valve engine with a volume of 1.6 litres, which makes a car of the model comfortable both inside and outside of a city. The maximum speed is 167 kilometres per hour. Fuel consumption in a mixed regime slightly exceeds seven litres per 100 kilometres.
According to earlier reports, Governor of the Samara Region Vladimir Artyakov will be the first buyer of a LADA Granta car. “I think that LADA Granta has a good future, as consumer preferences are evident,” Artyakov said, reaffirming that the plant had received more than 20,000 orders from those who would like to buy this “people’s car” in the pre-commercial period.
“LADA Granta is a car with unique features. In the price-quality ratio we managed to achieve considerable results,” Komarov said back then, stressing that the project was very important for the plant. “This is the first project after the crisis,” he said.
As he said, AvtoVAZ plans to manufacture about 150,000 LADA Grantas in 2012. After the sedan modification, the plant is going to launch production of hatchbacks, the head of the company 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 it is unique for the fact 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.