Sales of VAZ-2123 Chevrolet Niva cars, assembled at the General Motors-AvtoVAZ joint plant in Toliatti, are planned to begin on October 24, according to the Volga car manufacturer's press office. The official opening of the GM-AvtoVAZ joint plant took place on Monday, and the first three Chevrolet Niva cars assembled were sold. They were bought by Governor of the Samara Region Konstantin Titov, the general manager of the joint project, John Milonas, and Toliatti Mayor Nikolai Utkin.
The company plans to produce 456 Chevrolet Nivas by the end of the year. In 2003 production will total 35 thousand cars, 30 thousand of which will be sold in Russia, and 5 thousand of which will go for export. Exports are planned to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Projected output of 75 thousand cars per year is intended to be reached in 2005. The starting price of the cars in Russia is about USD 8 thousand.
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.