Thursday, 30 October 2008

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING...

An interesting new story from headlineauto.

Lada cars could make a return to the UK on the back of a new range of modern cars still under development, so it will not be any time soon.

The Russian cars have not been seen here since 1996 when the Riva saloon, Samara hatchback and Niva 4x4 were phased out - models so old that even the addition of fuel injection a couple of years before that was deemed high tech.

The Riva, based on an ancient Fiat, dates back to the factory's beginning in 1966 and, amazingly, is still being made and now called the Lada Classic. The Samara is also still being turned out at the vast AvtoVAZ plant in Togliatti, 1000kms south east of Moscow.

The Niva is now made under a joint venture with General Motors in Togliatti and wears a Chevrolet badge. There are also a couple of other more modern cars, the Kalina and the Priora which are made in hatch, saloon and estate form.

Earlier this year, however, Renault, with an eye on the fast-growing Russian market, took a 25 per cent stake in AvtoVAZ and is helping the Russians develop new cars. One, the Lada 2116, has been seen as Concept C, but now looks a very different three-box saloon sitting in the company's technical centre.

Although it looks ready for production, the reality is still a long way off, waiting for the construction of a new line at the factory to build Renault 1.4- and 1.6-litre engines under licence. This platform, developed by AvtoVAZ, will also carry a 4x4 crossover vehicle which is under development.

A good opportunity to announce that Veloce have the forthcoming book Russian Motor Vehicles – The Czarist Period: 1784 to 1917 By Maurice Kelly due to be in print next year.
click here for more info about the forthcoming book