These machines have become a real factor in the market. Take a closer look, from which a wealthy but economical buyer can choose now.

Vladimir ARKUSHA

You can be ironic over the assembly of foreign cars in Russia: “Just think, they screwed the bumper!”. One can doubt the reliability of local and foreign manufacturers: will they be able, as promised, to go all the way from the screwdriver assembly to the manufacture of automobiles in the full sense of the word. Meanwhile, more and more brands and models appear with the signs “Made in Russia” (and even plans to produce them - even more so). In this review, we will touch not only on the already well-known models (mainly of Korean origin), but also on those that persistently promise to assemble and sell here already in 1998 - Renault and FIAT.

The list of "screwdrivers screwdriver assembly" in Russia opened the factory "Red Aksai" (Rostov). During 1997, the initiative was developed by the ElAZ-DM Corporation in Yelabuga, Himeksmash in Balakovo, the Saratov Region, KIA-Baltika in Kaliningrad; From day to day, the Moskvich and Izhmash plants should be added to them, and GAZ at the end of the year.

The models, already mastered and outlined for assembly, we, as expected, have brought to the table: it turned out to be quite extensive (by our standards) company. Let's talk about what are machines from a technical point of view, whose interest they claim and, finally, to what extent they meet the wishes of readers expressed in recent questionnaires ZR (1997, No. 7 and 11).

In the variety of models, it is easy to see the features that unite them. First of all, these are “fresh” cars, mastered by foreign companies in the last four years. Novelty is manifested not only in an attractive appearance (by the way, other models, especially KIA, clearly lack recognition), but also in a modern design. All cars, excluding all-terrain vehicles, are front-wheel drive, all are equipped with high power density engines, with electronic injection, multi-valve cylinder heads are not uncommon. Many models of the Samara class are equipped with ABS brakes, power steering; an automatic transmission is also available. In a word, that in Russia by inertia is attributed to the attributes of a luxury car; what we have been waiting for on domestic models. The above applies to passive safety features: belts with adjustable fastening and preload, airbags, door amplifiers, additional brake lights. It is unnecessary to talk about interior design and decoration, and the acquaintance with the air conditioning in some Nexia, we are sure, led many to reconsider their ideas about comfort.

There are two reasons to single out cars assembled in Russia as a separate group: firstly, trying to see behind them a kind of micromodel of the “Russian” automobile industry for the next five years (as an alternative to traditional domestic plants). Secondly, the "settled", local assembly models are in a better position in the market. The reason is that with the expansion of assembly volumes, it becomes possible to lower the price and, as a rule, stop importing this model from the parent company.

The choice of bodies is quite diverse. There are more sedans, although in the small class there are five- and three-door hatchbacks (except for the “Sepia” and “Nexia”, which are delivered only with a sedan body). It is appropriate to turn to the ZR questionnaire: indeed, hatchbacks like only 10% of respondents, while the sedan was preferred by 23.6% of the responding readers - almost a quarter. (It would be interesting to find out to what extent the demand for the Hyundai Accent or KIA Avella is consistent with the survey.) In the questionnaire, 25.3% of respondents spoke for the station wagon. Alas, there are no Korean models with such a body in a small class, and therefore Frankfurt’s recent debut fiat-palio weekend may be out of competition. With a modest (4130 mm) length, its luggage compartment is almost as capacious as the larger and more expensive Marea Weekend model, and the 106-horsepower engine should satisfy not only everyday needs, but also long-distance travel. Station wagon “Marea Weekend” is just as lonely in the middle class, where the “Koreans” of the Russian assembly are represented only by sedans (“KIA Klarus”, “Hyundai Sonata”, “Daewoo Espero”).

As for the all-terrain station wagons, the most practical looks … the rear-wheel drive Chevrolet Blazer, so skeptical and unfriendly at first met by reporters. Its trump cards - a voluminous (especially in the cargo version) luggage compartment, a large clearance (guarantee for patency), a sufficiently powerful, moderately gluttonous engine - all this at a price "divine" for this class. The almost double overpayment for the "real" all-wheel drive "Blazer" is hardly justified: the patency acquired so expensive will most likely not be needed by the owner every day.

“KIA Sporting” is distinguished by a carrying body, a more than modest (even by the standards of sedans!) Luggage compartment, moderate, in spite of the “all leading” cross-country ability. But quite a spectacular appearance and quite a "respectable" price. Clearly not a “jeep” in the traditional sense of the word - just an all-wheel drive station wagon, in many ways inferior to the more recent (though, and even more expensive) Japanese counterparts: Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback.

If we talk about middle-class sedans, the Renault Megan Classic is most sympathetic: elegant, roomy, individual (a quality whose secret, alas, is difficult for Koreans - or those who “tailor” their bodies). It is difficult to explain, but Megan Classic is perceived more solidly than the largest of the FIATs - Marea. However, both models have one drawback: they only promise to collect them, while the Korean are selling with might and main.

The Achilles' heel of almost all Korean cars, both medium and small, is small luggage carriers that are clearly not designed for a family trip with luggage. So, on the voluminous traveling salesman case …

By the way, the size of the trunk is an indicator that indirectly indicates the inquiries of the buyer of the “Russian foreign car” (primarily an ordinary passenger car). This is undoubtedly a wealthy resident of a large city; he is hardly worried about how to deliver "to the winter apartment" a plentiful crop of six hundred parts, and he hires a truck to deliver building materials to the cottage. Most likely he travels by plane, and uses the car for daily, often lengthy, trips. Therefore, she wants her to be convenient and easy to operate, beautiful and cozy, safe in case of an accident, not tired of noise, not burdened with frequent repairs and excessive appetite. For this, he is ready today to pay a third, or even half, to the price of a domestic car. He is either not able to pay several times more expensive for a more prestigious foreign car, or does not consider it appropriate.

"Russian foreign car" (however, like any other) is registered in a large city also because its technical excellence ties the owner to a company service, the stations of which in the country can be counted on the fingers. The expansion of their network depends on the volume of sales, which so far, alas, are not so great. After all, people will be able to buy more (that is, spend) only by starting to earn more; it remains to repeat the question of the well-known advertisement: “What about the money?”.

In conclusion, a few words about how the assortment of the proposed foreign models relates to the wishes of our readers. First of all, the offer reflects the main market trend in most developed countries: interest in compact, economical - in a word, “reasonably sufficient” cars. This criterion meets most of the machines examined. Yes, they are significantly more expensive than domestic, but also the technical level, consumer qualities of foreign cars are much higher. However, the sedan of the reader’s dream "costs" about 9.5 thousand dollars. An inexpensive foreign car sedan today is 12–13 thousand. Considering that over the past year foreign cars have fallen in price by three thousand, the dream can come true if there is a transition from assembly to production. If a…

The ellipsis was not accidental: the relative success of the first endeavors needs to be supported by solid investments. But the "local" assembly so far remains a merit of quick entrepreneurs in Russia and assertive companies from South Korea. Their activity is based not so much on market analysis, the study of demand and needs, but on the market: duties are high, but you want to earn some money! But nevertheless, in our opinion, those projects in which automobile plants act as partners on the Russian side are more promising: their specialists better understand the possibilities and difficulties of localizing production, that is, mastering automobile components at Russian enterprises. Who can, without compromising their interests, convince a foreign company that investing here is profitable - AvtoVAZ, GAZ, Moskvich? So far the question remains open, and in different parts of the country they quickly use screwdrivers …

"Daewoo Nexia."

"Daewoo Espero".

KIA Avella Delta.

"KIA Sephia."

KIA Klarus.

KIA Sporting.

"Renault Megan Classic."

FIAT-Palio Weekend.

FIAT-Siena is a Palio-based sedan.


Hyundai Accent.