The times when the Volga was a longed-for dream of every motorist are long gone. I am from a generation that almost did not find that Soviet era. When in his student days at the beginning of the 2000s one of his fellow students came to classes at GAZ 31029, they openly laughed at him. And the matter is not in the Volga itself, but in the fact that it was not from that time. Then it did not fit in my head: why was the Volga production (models 31105 and 3102) curtailed only in 2008?
Even today, GAZ in the minds of many motorists seems to be a Soviet legacy that survived only by some miracle. Which one? There is reason to understand: GAZ celebrated its 85th anniversary, and today it’s the 86th anniversary!
REFERENCEJanuary 29, 1932 in one of the buildings of the automobile plant was assembled the first GAZ-AA lorry. Rather, it was called so later, when the city was renamed Gorky, and initially the name NAZ-AA appeared on the grille. Today, in the same walls there are several conveyor branches that collect GAZelle (Business and Next), a large lawn and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Classic. January 29, 1932 in one of the buildings of the automobile plant was assembled the first GAZ-AA lorry. Rather, it was called so later, when the city was renamed Gorky, and initially the name NAZ-AA appeared on the grille. Today, in the same walls there are several conveyor branches that collect GAZelle (Business and Next), a large lawn and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Classic.
GAZ is the key enterprise of the GAZ Group holding, which includes thirteen enterprises in Russia (Ural, LiAZ, PAZ, KavZ, UMP and others) and assembly sites in Turkey and Kazakhstan. The main shareholder of the GAZ Group is the Russian Machines machine-building holding, which is part of the Basic Element industrial group, the largest diversified industrial group in our country.
The best-selling car in Russia in the LCV segment is the GAZelle Next. Its production employs 880 people who work in one shift. 295 cars are produced per day. For comparison: in 2013, when GAZelle Next appeared, more than 500 cars were assembled daily.
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When the country was covered by capitalism, it was necessary to adapt to new realities. At the end of 1997, Gazovtsy entered into an agreement with Fiat on the creation of a joint venture Nizhny Novgorod Motors, whose capacities would allow the production of more than 100 thousand passenger cars annually. Preparations for production were in full swing, but the default of 1998 buried an ambitious project. By the beginning of the two thousandth GAZ, it was on the verge of bankruptcy - and in this state it came under the control of Basic Element Oleg Deripaska. The new investor extended the agony of the Volga, but not for long.
It's not about the new Volga with the GAZ 3111 index - it was no longer produced back in 2004 due to sluggish demand and poor manufacturing quality. There was another attempt: in 2006, GAZ Group for a fabulous $ 150 million acquired the old assembly line from the Daimler-Chrysler concern, which produced the Chrysler Sebring sedan. Soon, in turned form and under the name Volga Siber, it began to be assembled in Nizhny Novgorod. However, either the next crisis prevented, or the market did not accept the “American” Volga, but things did not go away: from 2008 to 2010 only 8700 cars were made.583 robots are working on welding GAZelle bodies. 583 robots are working on welding GAZelle bodies.
The paint shop Eisenmann was originally intended for Mercedes Sprinters. Now they also paint the GAZelle body. Robotic manipulators paint the critical places, and those areas that are hidden by the trim panels are painted manually. The paint shop Eisenmann was originally intended for Mercedes Sprinters. Now they also paint the GAZelle body. Robotic manipulators paint the critical places, and those areas that are hidden by the trim panels are painted manually.||The gazelles have plastic wings, and all metal panels (except the roof) are galvanized and cataphoretic primed for four minutes. The gazelles have plastic wings, and all metal panels (except the roof) are galvanized and cataphoretic primed for four minutes.|
After another debacle, the Gazovtsy decided to abandon the production of cars and concentrated on commercial vehicles. Moreover, the appetite was warmed up by a succesful Gazelle, which has been collected since 1994. And in order not to undermine yet another economic crisis (the commercial car market is reacting most acutely to it), they have embarked on a contractual assembly of cars of other brands. Today, GAZ collects Volkswagen Jetta, Skoda Yeti and Octavia cars. Soon, the Skoda Kodiaq crossover will join this list. However, most of the plant’s territory, which is about 600 hectares, is occupied by the production of components.
Not a freeloader, but a partner
As an assembly contractor, GAZ to a lesser extent depends on momentary demand for cars: how much was ordered - so much is produced, so please pick it up. The main thing is to ensure the proper quality. Indeed, in joint ventures, many components for gazelles are also manufactured. Remember the ever-running gazelle radiators? The creation of a joint venture with T.RAD (a Japanese manufacturer and the main supplier of radiators for Toyota) allowed to solve the problem.
The quality control system for the GAZelle conveyor was borrowed from Toyota at the time - even during the launch of Cyber. Something was later taken over from Daimler: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Classic is assembled in the same workshop on the next line. In addition, two cars are randomly selected daily for audit. Cars inspect, and then roll on them about 80 km, revealing extraneous noise and other possible problems. The discovered defects are eliminated by the "conveyor" method - so that the same flaws do not come out on other machines.A joint venture with the Belgian company Bosal provides all GAZ conveyor branches with exhaust system parts. A joint venture with the Belgian company Bosal provides all GAZ conveyor branches with exhaust system parts.
Every day, at the end of the working day, all dealers send information on repairs made to GAZ headquarters. The factory workers analyze it and, if some serious new defect pops up, they go to the dealer to study the problem.
However, the lesson with the Volga showed that build quality alone is not enough. The car must match the time. For example, while the development and launch of the all-metal GAZelle Next body was in progress, they launched, as it seemed, a temporary model: a frame bus on the chassis of the same Neckt. Moreover, they offered a version with standard gas equipment and a dual-fuel (gas / gas) EvoTech A275 engine with a working volume of 2.7 liters. The car has fit into the market so well that it is still being bought.
For the future
At the beginning of this year, GAZelle Next will appear on sale with a total weight of 4.6 tons (standard - 3.5 tons). In addition to the new rear axle and an increased wheelbase, it is also interested in disc brakes on all wheels and an electronic stability control system. True, the modification with ESP will go on sale no earlier than the second quarter of 2018.
The new chassis will allow this year to create a van with a capacity of 15.5 m³ and a passenger version with 20 seats - in order to compete on equal terms with the Sprinter. But the version with a medium or low roof in the near future we are unlikely to see, as well as all-wheel drive Next.
Every fifth car is equipped with gas equipment. Every fifth car is equipped with gas equipment.||
The modernized GAZelle Business and GAZelle Next with an independent front suspension are assembled on one conveyor line more than once. So far, the ratio is 40:60 in favor of the latter. The modernized GAZelle Business and GAZelle Next with an independent front suspension are assembled on one conveyor line more than once. So far, the ratio is 40:60 in favor of the latter.
And at the end of the year, a two-liter Volkswagen turbodiesel will appear on GAZelle - this is now being put on VW Crafter. Gazovtsi plan to remove 150 hp from a diesel engine Paired with it will work a 6-speed manual gearbox. The German diesel engine is noticeably lighter and more economical than the current Cummins ISF2, and meets Euro 6 standards (Cummins pulls only at Euro 4), which will expand export deliveries.
The range of medium-tonnage trucks will be replenished in the near future by Next Lawn (total weight of 10 tons) with air suspension, which will allow it to “squat” by 200 mm to facilitate loading.
This year, the Nizhny Novgorod Motors enterprise will begin production of a 6-speed automatic transmission of its own design, designed for a torque of up to 800 N · m. The machine is adapted for gas vehicles from the medium-sized truck segment with the YaMZ 534 engine.GAZelle Next is about to appear on sale with a total mass of 4.6 tons - with an increased wheelbase and disc brakes in a circle. GAZelle Next is about to appear on sale with a total mass of 4.6 tons - with an increased wheelbase and disc brakes in a circle.
After a tour of the assembly shops, the correspondent of the factory newspaper asked what surprised me most. If I visited GAZ regularly, observing its ups and downs in the post-perestroika period, I would answer that it struck everyone. But I didn’t have such an opportunity. And what I’ve seen now … By and large, this should be modern production.
But the Volga is still a pity.
Until 2014, GAZ was practically not represented in the segment of intercity and tourist buses. But especially for the Sochi Olympics, a large batch of such machines was made: GolAZ 5291 Cruise and GolAZ 5251 Voyage. Both are based on the Scania chassis. Demand for them remained after the Olympics. For example, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, another batch of Cruises was prepared.