Anthony Grade, Renault’s vice president of exterior design, has been appointed the new head of design for Avtovaz, the Russian carmaker most associated with its Lada brand.
The move shows how seriously Avtovaz is taking the design of its next generation of cars, some of which are intended to be offered in western European markets.
Grade has been at Renault for two decades and had his first meeting with Avtovaz bosses at the Paris motorshow last week. Autocar understands that he will be tasked with a complete overhaul and modernisation of Lada’s model range.
The move comes hard on heals of Renault’s €1bn purchase of a 25 percent stake in the Russian carmaker. Avtovaz has also paid Renault hundreds of millions of Euros for the right to use the Dacia Logan platform and to produce two modern Renault engines.
This technology will be used to replace Avtovaz’s ageing model line-up and production is expected within three years.
51 year-old Grade will be moving to the giant Togliatti plant, which is about 400 miles south east of Moscow. He told Autocar that he “wouldn’t be going there to tell the Russians what to do,” although he agreed that the prospect of a clean-sheet redesign of an established brand was an exciting prospect.