The column materials were prepared by Vladimir ARKUSHA, Dmitry LEONTIEV, Leonid SAPOZHNIKOV


At the Belarusian Automobile Plant production association, the largest reconstruction in the last 20 years has begun. The project cost - over $ 277 million - includes the company's own funds, state support funds in the form of tax and customs benefits, as well as foreign credit guaranteed by the Government of the Republic of Belarus. A thorough analysis of the financial situation of BelAZ PA convinced Western bankers that the association was able to meet its obligations.

The Czech company ALTA, which has long been both a supplier of components and a consumer of BelAZ products, has come forward with a proposal to supply technological equipment against the credit resources of the Czech Export Bank.

Modernization and expansion of production is planned to be carried out in two stages. At the first, specialized software will be acquired (CADDS5, ANSYS, ROBCAD, OPTEGRA): it will reduce the time for designing and preparing new products. At the same time, it is planned to introduce the BAAN IY enterprise management system, which will not only meet the standards of developed countries, but will also allow restructuring of production and management in an evolutionary way.

At the second stage, it is planned to completely update the gamut of products; in particular, to begin production of dump trucks for 80–170 tons with hydromechanical transmission. The workshops (first of all, the machining, press and welding industries) will be equipped with modern equipment: numerically controlled machines, flexible technological complexes.


By 2003, the Russian market will be able to “absorb” up to two million cars a year, and the share of new foreign cars (imported through official channels) will increase from 70–80 thousand in 1998 to 100–150 thousand. In the years to come to this milestone, the domestic market will undergo significant structural changes. The number of cars sold at a price of 10-15 thousand dollars will increase from the current 8 to 20%. The number of cars in the price category up to 6 thousand will be reduced to 25% (instead of 70% today). The share of expensive cars, costing more than 25 thousand dollars, will remain unchanged - 2-3%. This forecast for 2003 was announced at a recent meeting with reporters by Deputy Minister of Economy Sergei Mitin.


In the EU countries since 2002, cars (as well as computers, televisions, refrigerators, etc.) will have to have a warranty period of at least two years. This innovation will not weaken the competitiveness in the European car market of Asian manufacturers, which already have a warranty period of 3 to 6 years.

According to the Japanese Nihon Keizai newspaper, Hyundai Motors, a South Korean company, will sell its cars next year through its Mitsubishi dealer network, which will also be responsible for after-sales service for these cars. Apparently, this is the beginning of a large integration of the two automobile companies. Today, Mitsubishi owns only 6% of the shares of Korean partners.


In the fall of 2000, Opel will begin selling the Aguila micro-van. This is the first European model of this class, based on the Japanese "Suzuki-Wagon R". The point, however, is not in the design features, but in the fact that the new product will be released at the Opel plant in Gliwice (Poland), which came into operation about a year ago (ЗР, 1999, No. 2). While they are collecting first-generation "asters" there, but the decision to master the original, nowhere else released model will clearly raise the status of a subsidiary. By the way, the local FIAT plant is also the "exclusive" manufacturer of the Sicento microcar. Consistent economic policy, political stability and, as a consequence, the dynamic development of the country make it attractive to large investors.

Opel-Agilu will be equipped with ECOTEC engines (1 or 1.2 liters; 55 or 75 hp). Weight - 900 kg, length - 3.5 m, trunk volume - 250-650 liters.

The Slovak-Russian joint venture Matador-Omskshina intends to manufacture more than a million car tires in 2000. This was announced by the head of the Slovak factory "Matador" Joseph Vozar. According to him, the planned increase in production is associated with the beginning of the assembly of Czech cars Skoda Felicia in Russia.


The Volkswagen concern, which owns a 70% stake in Skoda, offered the Czech government to buy the remaining 30% for 210 million euros. The proposal was not accepted, because, according to experts, this amount should be four times higher. Nevertheless, the German side hopes to find a compromise with the Czech authorities and soon get Skoda into undivided ownership.


In Primorye, on the basis of one of the largest defense enterprises, the Aerotown company was created to assemble South Korean buses. Its founders were the Primorye Administration (20%) and the Dalzavod Holding (80%). The share of the regional administration - in monetary terms this is 1.7 million rubles - is guaranteed by tax exemption, and Dalzavod is guaranteed by its property, technology and premises. Hyundai Motors acts as a foreign partner. The project provides for the assembly of 400 buses per year. The cost of "joint" buses will be 18–20% lower than those imported from Korea.

At one time, the Proton company from Malaysia made a sensation not with its cars, but with the fact that it bought the eminent British company Lotus. Ford Motor also strove for this, but was late. Now, to purchase the Lotus, Ford needs to buy the Proton. Negotiations are underway.


Despite the fact that the 10 millionth population of this country is relatively poor (per capita income is one and a half times lower than the average European), its car fleet is growing very intensively. In the 9 months of 1999 alone, 186, 000 newly-purchased cars were registered - 42% more than in the same period of 1998. Toyota, Opel and Hyundai are leaders in terms of sales. The enviable activity of buyers is due primarily to a reduction in taxes and customs duties, as well as favorable conditions for purchasing cars on credit.