The manufacturer, not thinking about the buyer, is doomed. But in order to take care of the consumer, he first needs to take care of himself.


… Still, he is the largest of the domestic automobile plants. No joke, more than 700 thousand cars a year! For example, a financially more prosperous GAZ makes 125 thousand Volga and 80 thousand gazelles - can you compare … So I tried to persuade myself, anticipating disappointment from visiting the Volga automobile. Like, the giant plant is forgiven for gigantic problems. Some debts alone are almost 25 billion rubles (of which 10.5 billion are to the budget). In general, you should not expect anything good from our former “flagship”: it works somehow, okay.


And here is Togliatti. You can continue as in a joke: there are two news, good and bad. Good: AvtoVAZ, as never before, has many new models. There is a small charm “Kalina”, and a beautiful “Niva”, and a capacious “Hope” … But here the bad news lies in wait: the plant has no money to let out all this beauty.

Buyers are almost in the queue registering, they are ready at least now, in advance, to pay for the cars, the market will swallow new items without analyzing the taste - just come on! So the money will appear. But then. And now we need a lot. For the development of the new “Niva” - $ 100-300 million (depending on the volume of output). On "Kalina" and even more - about 800 million (same dollars). Do not forget the growing family of "tens" - it requires its 100 million …

And the plant, in addition to rather big (to match the scale!) Current taxes, pays off its previous debts. More than 100 million rubles a month - this is an additional burden. Accumulate for the year - about 500 million dollars will be obtained, half of what is required for the introduction of new models into production. If they are allowed to do so, the plant will receive profits (and, therefore, pay taxes) that are incomparable with the current ones … But let's not talk about sad things. The state also needs money now, and not later. Even if then more.

So, is it better to forget about VAZ novelties, treat them like curious museum exhibits?

“The Tenth family is already a reality, ” says Alexey Nikolaev, General Director and President of AvtoVAZ JSC. - Wagon VAZ 2111 is sold and is popular in the market, hatchback 2112 is on the way. We are looking for reserves: we reduce unproductive expenses, we improve the structure of production and management in order to introduce other models. In our plans by 2003 to master on the conveyor instead of the old "Niva" a new one - VAZ 2123. And Kalina will probably have to wait in line until 2005. By that time, the “six” will be finally transferred to Syzran, we will stop the production of “fives”, “sevens”, “fours” …

Fans of the "classics" need to rush into the purchase. However, rear-wheel drive "old women" will not soon depart to another world. It was not for nothing that one of the plant's workers told me to foreign television reporters: “A good car can be made. And try to make it for three thousand dollars, and also go … "Foreigners are unlikely to understand this, but in Russia there will still be buyers of morally obsolete, but inexpensive cars. And that means that both meaning and those who wish to release them will remain. By the way, recently we somehow quietly turned out to be the only ones who make such cheap cars. Developed countries with rich residents strive to improve products to sell better. In third world countries, the key to sales is a low price. Here we are out of competition. Many developing countries are ready to buy our cars. Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Iran want to host the production of VAZ models … If earlier our automakers sought to trade their products in the West, now they have turned their eyes to the East. It is more promising, although not so prestigious. Alas, here AvtoVAZ is not able to deploy in full force. Due to foreign currency debt, the company cannot obtain a government license for production abroad …


However, it turned out that the factory workers have something to tell about cooperation with foreigners. Negotiations with General Motors have been going on for three years. At one time, they discussed the possibility of assembling 30–40 thousand “asters” a year. Now a car (modern, good!) At a price of 12-13 thousand dollars is not suitable for Russia, at least in such volumes.

- Partners think how to reduce the cost of the car, - Nikolaev explains. - Complete with a Russian engine, gearbox, instrument panel, bumpers … In short, reduce the cost of using local components. But there is another way: to produce another, more suitable model for our market.

Which one? General Motors invited AvtoVAZ to participate in the production of the new Niva!

Indeed, the car is interesting, and not only for Russia (even the old Niva is still popular abroad, but here it’s completely different!). If you do not delay development, the commercial success of the project is ensured.

So, the decision to create a joint venture was made, the foreign partner has already provided the first $ 25 million in the form of an investment loan, and the question of further investments is being discussed. There is something to reassure those who at first glance liked the VAZ 2123: it is very likely that the serial production of the model will begin in a year or two, and it will cost about 7.5 thousand dollars.

This joint project is perhaps the most sensational and significant news of the Volga Automobile Plant. If the first investment agreement is followed by deeper cooperation - the creation of an independent enterprise for the production of joint models (developed by VAZ or General Motors - is unprincipled, if only we bought well. Although, of course, I would like, like patriots …), then this will become a real breakthrough of the Volga automobile in the XXI century.


Of course, it is naive to think that the key to prosperity of AvtoVAZ is the only strategic investor. For such a giant, especially in the current economic and political conditions, he cannot be found. Especially until structural adjustment has been carried out. What is the Volga Automobile Plant? The highest concentration of production, directly enclosed, subsistence farming. But how else, if suppliers are undisciplined, communications are broken, no one pays money to anyone? We have to take as much as we can. So, let’s say, they recently launched an excellent plastics workshop equipped with Japanese equipment. Dashboards and upholstery parts for the "tenth" family, those that were previously ordered by one military factory, are now made by themselves. That, they say, could not provide the required quality, the prices were breaking high; they refused.

To gather so many industries under one's roof is a forced measure, economically inefficient. In the future, independent AvtoVAZ stand out independent component plants.

And what about the assembly? Anyone who scolds the quality of the "Lada" and "Samar", it would not hurt to visit the assembly line. Not in order to feel the scope (three two-kilometer lines!), But to feel how difficult it is to rebuild such an outdated whopper.

A car, consisting of thousands of parts, arrives in bulk on a VAZ conveyor, so to speak. And here they stuff his bare body, assemble a car from disparate parts. There are hundreds of people on the line, and the quality depends on everyone! Of course, it’s very difficult to achieve an excellent build. The management promises to tightly control discipline and the work of everyone (out of 100 thousand people!), But this is unlikely to change much.

All over the world, nowadays enlarged units arrive on the conveyor. Most of them are manufactured by allied enterprises: it is easier to control quality, assembly at the main production becomes less time-consuming and more flexible.

But the creation of many factories that produce assembled components for AvtoVAZ is a task of the distant future, its solution depends not only on the car factory itself. As well as the introduction of new forms of trade (in installments, the exchange of an old car for a new one), the restoration of dealer and service networks, without which the company cannot solve its many problems. And this is another topic - how the state will (or will not) support Russian automakers and the economy in general.

… And yet, today's AvtoVAZ does not disappoint. Stability in the fight against difficulties (the struggle is never-ending, but also not unsuccessful, once the company works and releases new models) inspires optimism. Whatever happens around - the plant survives and even manages to do something new. Maybe in the new century there will be less problems - both at the Volga Automobile Plant, and among us, buyers of its products?