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.