Renault has canned plans for a modern Lada hatchback based on the Concept C show car as it concentrates on improving the troubled firm’s current range.
A senior Renault source told Autocar that its plans for Lada parent Avtovaz had changed since it bought a 25 per cent stake in the firm, and that the first priority was to significantly improve the quality of the Kalina small car.
“We’re going to use a similar technique to the way VW managed Skoda,” said the source. “First we want to get the quality of the Kalina right. It will be hard for the managers because they’ve never done it to this standard before, but the Russian education is very good. They will be able to learn in two to five years what the West learned over 40 years.
“We have stopped the project to build a Golf-size car in order to concentrate on the Kalina. Only then will we introduce new models based on Renault-Nissan platforms. We’d expect new models to roll out in 2012-2014,” said the insider.
Renault is resisting calls from the Russian government to invest more cash into the company, and it says that its contribution to Avtovaz is “through technology, equipment, know-how and platforms”.
Avtovaz, which employs over 100,000 people in the city of Togliatti, sells most of its million-car output locally, but it was badly hit by the global recession. New car sales in Russia are down by 57 per cent and sales in Ukraine, an Avtovaz stronghold, are down 75 per cent.
The company was poised to sack as many as 27,000 workers, but the Russian government stepped in with a cash injection, partly to prevent unrest in the city. Some of that aid will be used to fund new models.