Simple, bold themes underpin the design of Lada's fresh concepts
Lada's future: the Vesta compact saloon, Vesta race car and X-Ray SUV
The new design direction is being overseen by Britain's Steve Mattin
The two road-going models are thinly veiled concepts of future production models
Road and touring car racing versions of the Vesta compact saloon
Race car and two concepts point to a bold new future for the Russian brand
Racing Vesta will compete in the FIA World Touring Car Championship
The new cars have been shown off at the Moscow motor show
Lada wants to be known for stylish, desirable, high-quality vehicles
Shared Renault-Nissan platform technology is assisting Lada's growth plan
The Vesta is a 4.4-metre B-segment saloon that will replace the Priora
The production variant will have different headlight detail and narrower wings
Steve Mattin says every detail of the concepts has production relevance
The new cars suggest a fresh air of confidence from the Lada brand
The Vesta saloon has been slated for a September 2015 on-sale date
Lada is confident that the Vesta will become its second-biggest selling model
The new brand identity seen on the concepts will filter down to Lada's other models
Lada is using its home motor show to launch its redefined identity
The X-Ray SUV concept is related to the Dacia Sandero Stepway
The Lada X-Ray Concept has a bespoke Lada look inside and out
The original X-Ray concept was a three-door, but this one gains two extra doors
The concept will spawn a production version that's due in 2016
A family of X-Ray vehicles are planned around the X-Ray's theme
The SUV is a potential big-seller, which would assist Lada's global ambitions
Rob Huff, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy will race the Vesta WTCC
The Vesta will replace the Granta as the basis for Lada's racing exploits
The racing car could inspire a hotter performance road car Vesta variant
Lada has launched two new models and a new race car at its home Moscow motor show as it bids to reinvent itself as the maker of stylish, desirable, high quality cars with appeal not just to the domestic buyers so loyal to the brand, but also eventually those further afield.
At Moscow it is presenting the X-Ray compact SUV and the Vesta compact saloon, both thinly veiled looks at new families of models that will go on sale from September 2015.
There is also a World Touring Car Championship version of the Vesta saloon that will go racing next year, with two British drivers – Rob Huff and James Thompson – and Russian Mikhail Kozlovskiy behind the wheel.
All this has been made possible by a takeover of Lada’s parent firm Avtovaz by Renault-Nissan, which has gradually been increasing its ownership to now 67.1 per cent of a holding company that controls 74.5 per cent of Avtovaz. Renault acquired an initial 25 per cent stake in 2008 for $1 billion (£600m).
The bold, distinctive new design direction, overseen by British design director Steve Mattin, is the first phase of this reinvention, which is in part backed up by proven Renault-Nissan-sourced platforms and likely powertrains.
Up first in the Lada reinvention is the Vesta, a 4.4-metre B-segment saloon, which will replace the Priora in Lada’s line-up and become its likely second best seller after the smaller 4.2-metre-long Granta saloon when it goes on sale in September 2015.
It’s based on a new modular platform that several different variants of the Vesta and other models are likely to be spawned from. The production car will look almost identical to the four-door concept at Moscow, save for some detail in the headlights and slightly narrower wings.
The Vesta will be seen first though in WTCC racer form, when the 2015 season starts next spring. Unusually, the Lada road car design team has worked with the Lada Sport design, and Mattin, who gave Autocar an exclusive preview of the new Ladas before the Moscow show, believes the Vesta’s layout and proportions lends itself to a competitive racer far better than the Granta. A Lada Sport-fettled version of the Vesta saloon is already being mooted to further link the road and race programmes.
The final car in the trio is the second X-Ray concept. It’s closely related to the Dacia Sandero Stepway under the skin, but with a bespoke Lada look inside and out. Clearly inspired by the original three-door X-Ray concept, the now five-door model is still officially a concept, but a much closer look at the production car that’s due on sale in early 2016. A family of X-Ray vehicles is also planned.
Mattin says is not quite as close to production as the Vesta, but “every detail has a production relevance”. It’s another potential big seller for Lada, as the market is also subject to the global boom of popularity in compact SUVs.
That front face is the most eye-catching part of Lada’s reinvention. Mattin studied rivals and wanted to do something completely different from the horizontal front-ends and trapezoidal and single-frame front grilles currently dominating the industry.
He settled on the ‘X’ theme, a bold treatment that connects the headlights, front grille, lower air intake and front fogs. The angle and size of the X can be changed for different models to give it a different treatment, but maintaining the new strategic look. “It’s simple and bold,” says Mattin, “X is a strong letter.”
The X theme can be seen all over the new-look Ladas. Look at the new cars in their sleek profiles, and another X is spelled out in the bodywork, something Mattin describes as “clean and simple, really emphasising the wheels”.
There’s another X in the rear light graphics, and the side X runs around the rear light clusters to create another X. “Everywhere you look you see an X,” says Mattin, something that even applies inside, where the plusher, more European-like cabins with large touchscreens and higher quality materials are also furnished with Lada’s new favourite letter on the seat fabrics among other locations.
The newfound boldness and confidence is also reflected in the Lada name being spelled out across the back of the new cars, and a more modern looking and bigger badge created for the brand also. After the Vesta and X-Ray, the new look and brand identity will be rolled out across the rest of the range.
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