AvtoVAZ and its partner Japanese transmission-maker JATCo began production of its first automatic-transmission cars.
AvtoVAZ plans to begin selling its economy-class Lada Granta sedan with automatic-transmission next month at the price of 373,000 rubles ($11,627). The company aims at producing 10,000 Granta automatic models by the end of this year and 70,000 next year.
“Simply said: the stronger you push, the faster you go,” said Oleg Khramkov, head of AvtoVAZ’s working group for automatic gear integration. “We have introduced a ‘kick-down’ option with the help of an electronic throttle pedal.”
It is expected that AvtoVAZ will install the automatic transmission on its restyled Lada Kalina model too, which will be seen at the Moscow automobile show in August 2012. In 2013 the company plans to restyle the Kalina model in Togliatti, where AvtoVAZ has its headquarters.
Although until recently AvtoVAZ was a loss-making company with huge debts, it managed to get back on the track and improve its financial position and boost sales with the help of the ‘cash-for-clunkers’ program that ended in 2011.
In order to compete with foreign competition AvtoVAZ has to manufacture modern and technologically advanced cars, as Russia’s auto market is now opened for competition after its entry into the World Trade Organization this year.