What gives real credibility to the remarkable reinvention plan Lada is about to embark on is the man behind it.

British designer Steve Mattin was lured to Lada in autumn 2011 from a distinguished stint as Volvo’s design boss (where he designed models including the S60, V60 and XC60) and previously Mercedes-Benz (where his designs included the previous ML, GL and SL models) on the promise of a true blank sheet of paper to define Lada on.

The following August he presented the X-Ray concept, a bold, three-door compact SUV that caused Moscow motor show visitors to question whether the car in front of them really was a Lada.

“The challenge was to redefine the brand, build it and give it a new identity, and create a real strategy around future products with a consistent design language,” he says.

“It was a heavy decision to make to come here after Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, and a completely different opportunity. It’s a chance to redefine a brand, and there are not many opportunities like that in the industry."

Mattin took over from very early design work on the next-generation of production Ladas and begun to shape them in his image. Unusually for a car maker, Lada has no real design history or icons in its range to draw inspiration from, at least not in a positive light.