A couple of laps along the track, where all the brand new “frets” are circled, - and immediately the problem: where to wash the car? “It doesn’t matter, - Ilya Ivashov, deputy chief of the Largus assembly shop, cannot be confused with such trifles, - now we’ll go into the rain chamber. That's just the antenna will need to be removed. Watering is done for us higher, but for now we share it with “viburnum” and “grants”. In the workshop, returning to the wheel, Ilya takes the key, although he did not turn off the engine. We knowingly smile at each other: it happens!
And I find myself thinking that this is the first "Lada", in the cabin of which you can really doubt whether the motor is working.
The first line of the conveyor, on which “Lada” began to be produced in April 1970, is today again given to the licensed model. After 42 years, the circle closed, although, let's not sin against the classics, it’s more correct to talk about the spiral: “Largus” is a whole floor, if not two, above the “penny”.
This year about 25 thousand “Largus” and a certain number of “Nissan Almera" will be assembled here. In general, the conveyor will be divided between three brands. The calculation is for 280 thousand cars: 70 thousand is the share of VAZ, the same number are “Japanese” and another 140 thousand will fall on two Renault models, about which we are only making assumptions. There is an opportunity to increase output to 350 thousand (this is full capacity), and partners can adjust their shares, but this is a matter of the future.
“Let's go, ” Ivashov hurries, “I will show another section of the motors.” This is where 1.6 liter engines go to their bodies. Yes, there are two types, eight- and sixteen-valve. The quality system is the same as at the enterprises of the Renault Nissan Alliance, because their cars will be produced here. There are no problems with recruiting people, although our salaries are the same as on neighboring threads. At least for now…"
“Takata-Petri AG”, AAT, “Faucom”, “Gestamp”, “BGC BSZ” are the names of the suppliers of the “Lada-Largus” project. To visit these enterprises with sophisticated foreign names, it is not necessary to apply for a visa. The first is located in Ulyanovsk (steering wheels, airbags), then Moscow (ZIL, stamping), Togliatti (dashboard, upholstery), Kaluga (stamping), Bor (glass) - 332 localized items are listed. The manufacture of Largus is stamping, welding, painting, and assembly. The station wagon uses part of the suppliers of its Moscow brothers Renault-Logan and Sandero, but the process goes both ways: with the localization of Largus, new partners were found and tested, who now work for AvtoVAZ and Avtoframos. And in the summer stamps will arrive from the Romanian Pitesti, on which they will make internal body parts for the whole of Europe. Front panels "Lada-Largus", by the way, are already localized.
It all started … “It all started in 2008, when Renault bought 25% plus one share of AvtoVAZ, ” said Sergey Korzhenovsky, Deputy Project Manager of RF90. So in the factory documents the current “Largus” is indicated, that is, the station wagon (R90) and the van (F90) on the B0 platform of the Renault concern (it served as the base for Logan and Sandero, and several more models will be built on it).
We started looking for common ground, choosing cars that could be produced at AvtoVAZ. We examined the whole gamut, but rather quickly settled on the B0 platform: these machines have already shown themselves well, primarily in Eastern Europe. But Logan was already made in Moscow, Sandero was also planned to be produced at Avtoframos, so the choice was actually predetermined: the Logan-MCV station wagon. He successfully launched in the markets of the Old World and, according to our expectations, would have come in very handy also in Russia, adding to the AvtoVAZ range. ”
I perfectly remember the readers' polls on the theme “Dream Car”. With a difference of 13 years, in 1997 and 2010, you “drew” a station wagon based on a car of a small or compact class, that is, quite large, and most importantly, affordable, with all-wheel or front-wheel drive. And marketers persistently offered Russians sedans … A couple of years ago we even depicted what a dream car on the basis of Polo or Solaris might look like. With "Logan" did not have to fantasize. I just had to wait.
“In 2009, ” recalls Korzhenovsky, “we bought a license to manufacture the RF90, and one of the conditions of the agreement was stylistic changes in the exterior and interior to emphasize: this is not Dacia, not Renault, but a car of the Lada brand . Actually, practically no other structural changes were required: we were well acquainted with Logan, carried out full-scale tests of the station wagon and knew that the car was well adapted to Russian conditions. It was more about choosing complete sets, filling them with the right components. ”
Nevertheless, I had to do something. Anti-gravel protection caused complaints during the tests: small pebbles left chips on the sharp edges of the wheel arches. "Largus" found overlays on the arches - front shared "Logan", rear original. We also expanded the body treatment area with anti-noise and anti-gravel mastic.
When choosing and clarifying the configuration took into account our climate. For example, they abandoned versions without a rear wiper and, moreover, raised the capacity of the washer fluid reservoir to 5 liters. We experimented with an electric heater in the heater, but did not satisfy the result: the unit accelerated the heating of the cabin somewhat, and then rather harmed it by obstructing the flow of warm air. By the way, this option was offered for some time on Moscow cars, but it did not find demand. We limited ourselves to installing air ducts on the second and third (7-seat version) rows of seats.
Of the small, but important details, I note a gas tank plug without a lock. After all, the owner of “Logan” is easy to recognize at the gas station when he goes to the ticket office with the key and the cork inserted on it …
From the range of engines they chose a 1.6-liter - they refused the diesel and small 1.4-liter gasoline for obvious reasons. The eight-valve motor (64 kW) is supplied from Romania, and the sixteen-valve motor (77 kW) is supplied from Portugal; from 2013, the latter will be licensed to be assembled at AvtoVAZ. It is envisaged that the next generation engines will also fall in Togliatti, in the production of machines on the B0 platform. And, experts carefully add, not only … At least, the engine plant is planned to be very serious, with 450-500 thousand units annually.
Only pickups were removed from the gamut of large “logans”. In Russia, they still have a superstructure on them, while the Largus family already has a wagon. Which, together with five- and seven-seater station wagons, and forms a lineup.
And yet, why did the Largus wait so long? "Long? - Sergey Korzhenovsky disagrees. - From the moment the decision was made, the design was frozen, and requests were sent to suppliers, the time period corresponding to Renault standards passed. This is two years. Let's again: started the project at the end of 2008; 2009 - design, research, marketing study; from 2010 to the present day - work with suppliers, organization of production. ”
We are going to Largus again, but now, under the wheels, is not the concrete of the track, but the asphalt of the Samara highway. This is the car of the project director Mikhail Ryabov, and he himself is driving in a hurry to the training ground of AvtoVAZ - tomorrow the Presidential race will take place here, that is, the leaders will fight for the prize of the head of AvtoVAZ.
We slip through the railway crossing and I remember with pleasure the “Logan” with its wonderful, just the same royal pendants. "Largus", even though it is capable of carrying seven, inherited the smoothness, comfort, controllability of the ancestor. I recall the words of Monsieur Schweitzer, the head of Renault and the father of Logan: "Our car is modern, affordable, reliable." It is a real art to combine three such qualities in one machine. But I was distracted. And the other crew members fell silent, about to take a nap in the warmth on a spacious middle couch and in the third row (there are five of us in the cabin and even luggage).
Mikhail Sergeyevich, carried away by speed (fun for a hundred), puts his hand on the lever. “What, are you also looking for the sixth?” I recall my Logan, which I drove under a hundred thousand. “Yes, not enough, ” Ryabov laughs. “By the way, what was the expense of your car?” On average, 7.6 liters per hundred. Few? But we must take into account that the editorial blue sedan was a big fan of long-distance travel ( ЗР, 2008, No. 10 ). As for the station wagon, which once had a chance to drive six hundred kilometers on the French highways, I remember its frankly frantic tightness. We went and went, and the gasoline pointer did not move, making us suspect a malfunction. But no, just a 6.6 l / 100 km flow rate is really very good!
We are on the spot. Ryabov puts on his helmet and goes to train on the racing "Grant", and I finally get the opportunity to drive. And I do not release it either at the training ground or on the way to the factory, having done a total of seventy kilometers. It’s customary to save the conclusions for later, but I won’t hold back: I would have traveled seven hundred kilometers and seven thousand, as I had once done in a Logan race. Largus is a very good car. Thank God that they did not begin to remake the Logan wagon, but simply localized it, started production at AvtoVAZ. Indeed, changing it is only spoiling.
There will always be a couple of comments - for pedants. I would rather have wipers on both rear doors (now only on the left). Until they asked me if the mirrors were too small, I had enough of them. And of course, the regular daytime running lights that even the Grant can boast of - where are they on the Largus ?!
… Ryabov, heated up by training, gets into the car and reduces the heat of the stove: “He showed a good time. And you know what, it is necessary to wash the car tomorrow: I see, such an interest in it is here! ” That’s for sure, the sports people surrounded “Largus” and didn’t fail to praise the huge hold (the seats were folded down) and scold the spare wheel under the bottom: if you sit in a rut you won’t get it. Five minutes later (ventilation is not bad!) From the third row came: “Colleagues, is it possible to make it warmer?”.
I twist the heater knobs, trying to make out the signs on them, and again remember my Logan: this ergonomic flaw - the reverse tilt of the console - was inherited by Largus. It's useless to scold, it's easier to get used to …
Moreover, Largus has a long life ahead, and I, right now, have another thirty kilometers behind its wheel.
And this cannot but rejoice.
P. S. The next day, M. Ryabov won the presidential race.
What kind of mysterious Renault models in the amount of about 140 thousand a year are planned to be produced at AvtoVAZ? Here is my private version: these are the "Logans" and "Sanderos" of the current generation. Since the appearance of “Logan 2” has already been predetermined (the premiere is in autumn in Paris, and the Geneva “Lodges” showed what it will be), and the capacities according to the first are still quite capable - why not give it to Togliatti, and maybe to Izhevsk? The Moscow Avtoframos, on the other hand, is focused on Duster, Fluence and other models, since the demand allows. Suppliers are ready, this step is technologically justified - we will soon find out if I guessed right or not.
Since its inception, it has caused great interest, and we have been waiting for the question: will there be a car in Russia? - Someday an affirmative answer will follow. Unbearable, they embarked on an expedition to France to familiarize themselves with the new product ( ЗР, 2007, No. 7 ). They noted the impressive capacity, practicality, efficiency, were amazed at the outlandish seat belt device for the fifth passenger. And then the reader suddenly called: “I bought Logan MCV, do you want to do a test?” Dacia then easily defeated its classmates Fiat-Doblo and Peugeot Partner, upsetting with its brilliant absence on the Russian market and not quite intelligible brakes ( ЗР, 2007, No. 12 ).
The following was the material about Largus, made after its first show at the exhibition in the Moscow Manege, dedicated to the 45th anniversary of AvtoVAZ ( ЗР, 2011, No. 10 ).