Lada, owned by AvtoVAZ – which is in term controlled by the Renault Nissan alliance, has become the most popular auto brand in Crimea – the peninsula that sparked all the regional unsettlement after its annexation by Vladimir Putin’s government.
There’s a catch though – it has almost no competition. Lada, the best-selling car rband in Russia, has seen booming demand in the Black Sea peninsula because all the international automakers ceased all operations in the area for fear of sanctions. The same cannot be said about the AvtoVAZ conglomerate, which has remained very close to Kremlin even after Renault Nissan assumed formal control. “We aren’t losing our time analyzing geopolitical issues if they don’t touch us directly,” claims a spokesperson. “We have too much work to do.” The Russian automaker is steaming ahead as it assumes “control” over the region, while its French patron – Renault – for example, has opted to suspend business at its local dealers. The automaker can’t step on AvtoVAZ’s opportunities because the Russian carmaker has become crucial to the alliance’s emerging market operations while Renault itself is in limbo over the situation – it’s owned 15 percent by the French government, which has been a fan of sanctions against Russia.
According to Andrey Kudrin, director of the first official Lada dealer that opened in October, “demand for Lada cars is very high.” The local customers are now ordering around 200 to 300 Lada autos each month. Back in 2013, when the peninsula was still part of Ukraine, China’s Geely was the best-selling brand in the region and according to Autostat Russia’s Lada only totaled 155 cars all year.
Via Automotive News Europe