The Russian company AvtoVAZ, maker of such iconic models (though not necessarily classical) as the Lada Niva and Lada Samara in 1980 and 1990, is about to fall under the control of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which will acquire shares more than 50% of the Russian giant.
The French-Japanese conglomerate has maintained a 25% stake in AvtoVAZ since 2008 when the Russian company nearly collapsed in the global financial crisis, despite being the supplier of more than a third of Russia’s automotive market, which for 2014 is expected to surpass Germany as the largest car market in Europe.
Last year, Russian car sales totaled 2.65 million units and expect that number to rise to 2.9 million vehicles this year.
One of the main reasons that led to Renault-Nissan to acquire the brand is to put the Russian conglomerate ahead of Ford and Toyota, and thus positioned in third place in the ranking of car sales worldwide, even by leaders behind General Motors and Volkswagen AG.
AvtoVAZ was established in the 1960s with the help of Italy’s Fiat, which gave their design and construction technology transferred to what would become the largest car factory in the world, with 140 miles of production lines in a huge plant on the banks of the Volga river in Togliatti.
With this investment, Renault-Nissan is committed to creating a strong platform cars for the cheaper market globally, which already has Dacia in Romania and, soon, with Datsun in emerging markets.