The first Chevrolet Niva to be assembled at the General Motors-AvtoVAZ plant in Toliatti will be bought by Konstantin Titov, the Governor of the Samara Region. The Volga car plant's press office announced this today, quoting the joint enterprise's managing director, John Milonas. According to Milonas, the second car off the conveyor will go to his wife, and the third will be bought by the Mayor of Toliatti, Nikolai Utkin.
Milonas said that the factory will start releasing Chevrolet Nivas according to schedule on September 23. The cars will cost approximately USD 8 thousand. By the end of 2002, the firm will produce 456 cars, all of which will be silver coloured. In 2003, production will be 35 thousand cars, 30 thousand of which will be sold in Russia and 5 thousand of which will go for export. From January 2003, the range of available colours will expand to seven.
According to Milonas, the setting up of the General Motors-AvtoVAZ network is divided into three stages. The first stage, which involves the creation of twenty dealerships, will be completed by the end of 2002. The second stage will see the number of dealers grow to 35 by March 2003. In the third stage, the number of dealers will reach 91 by October 2003. At the end of 2003 General Motors-AvtoVAZ will have a full network of 97 dealers.
A general agreement to establish the General Motors-AvtoVAZ project, which plans to produce 60-75 thousand cars annually under the Chevrolet Niva brand, was signed in June 2002 by General Motors, AvtoVAZ and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). General Motors holds 41.5% of the project's capital, AvtoVAZ holds 41.5%, and the EBRD holds 17%. The project is costing USD 330 million. The number of workers at the firm is to increase from the current 200 to 1,200 by the end of 2003.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969