Russian manufacturer GAZ has just launched a new saloon under the supposedly upmarket ‘Volga’ brand. Dubbed the Siber, its familiar looks are explained by the fact that it’s based on the previous generation of Chrysler Sebring, the rights to which have been sold to GAZ.
Volga was one of the most respected automotive brands in the former Soviet Union under communism, its models driven by senior party officials and used as police pursuit cars.
The Siber is being pitched as the start of a renaissance for the Volga brand, with GAZ planning to manufacture other models based on licenced platforms. The Russian car market is currently booming, having just overtaken Germany to become the biggest in Europe.
Many manufacturers see sales in Russia and surrounding countries as being a way to beat the economic slowdown in western Europe and the USA – so the Siber will have its work cut out competing with imported models.
Compared to the Sebring it has been re-engineered with revised styling, a raised ride height and stiffer suspension. It’s powered by either a 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre petrol engine and comes with airbags, ABS and aircon as standard.