The General Motors and AvtoVAZ joint venture will produce 30 thousand Chevrolet Niva automobiles by the end of the year, said AvtoVAZ Chairman Vladimir Kadannikov in a press conference yesterday. He said that the strong sales of the automobiles together with the growth of the Russian market have served as a nudge to make a decision about production of the Opel Astrasedan in Toliatti.
Kadannikov added that the market is showing a tendency for an increase in automobile sales in the middle and high price categories - from USD 7 thousand to USD 10 thousand and from USD 10 thousand to USD 15 thousand. According to AvtoVAZ analysts this share of the market will further increase, while at the same time sales of economy cars will decline. Kadannikov also said that sales for new import cars are also growing. For the first nine months of this year sales of new imported cars in Russia totaled 150 thousand, which is almost double last year's total of 80,000 cars sold in the first nine months of the year. Furthermore, it is expected that sales of new imported cars in Russia will reach 210 thousand next year.
From September 23, 2002 though September 23, 2003 the General Motors and AvtoVAZ joint venture produced 13 thousand Chevrolet Niva automobiles. In 2004 they are planning to produce an export version of Chevrolet Niva with an Opel 1.8 liter engine. At the present time, the Chevrolet Niva is equipped with a Russian 1.7 liter engine.
The General Motors-AvtoVAZ joint venture was created in 2001. The company has capital worth USD 238.2 million. The owners of the joint venture include Volzhsky Automobile Factor with 41.5% of the stock, General Motors with 41.5% and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with 17%. The factory was officially opened on September 23, 2002. Sales of the Chevrolet Niva began on November 1, 2002. In 2004, the factory expects to produce 60 thousand Chevrolet Niva automobiles and 75 thousand Chevrolet Niva automobiles in 2005.