We always loved big and powerful cars. Apparently, therefore, one of the first foreign car dealers was Trinity Motors, which since 1991 has officially (!) Offered Chevrolet, Cadillac and Opel cars. In 1992, a representative office of General Motors opened in Russia. Then there were more dealers, but the Americans, apparently, all the time wanted more, at least to become the first company in the Russian market.
Negotiations on the production of overseas machines have been going on since the beginning of the 90s; I well remember how in 1993 the head of AvtoVAZ Vladimir Kadannikov "not for printing" told me that very soon they would have Opel Corsa cars on the conveyor. Alas, it did not. And then the Americans began to look for their own site for the assembly of machines.
NOT DONE IN TATARSTAN
In the late 80s - early 90s of the last century, the idea of creating a people's car was actively discussed in the USSR. They even found a place where they intended to launch mass production: on the areas of an unfinished tractor factory in Elabuga (Tatarstan). At first they thought about producing Oku-2, then Fiat Panda, but by the mid-1990s they had forgotten about this idea, and the giant plant was a couple of empty buildings and several abandoned foundations. It was then that they decided to expand the production of American cars - the authorities of the Russian Federation and Tatarstan promised GM unprecedented benefits if they choose this particular site. In spring 1997, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin congratulated Yelabug on the release of the first batch of Russian Chevrolet-Blazer SUVs assembled from Brazilian components.
A “real American” turned out to be too expensive for poor countries such as Russia or Brazil (we asked for 40 thousand dollars for an all-wheel drive version). Therefore, for third countries “Blazer” tried to reduce the cost as much as possible. And instead of a cool car, it turned out to be just a great family car - but with rear-wheel drive, a 105-horsepower engine, mechanics, no air conditioning, "music" and even without power windows. But the price is half that of the American "Blazer": less than 23 thousand dollars.
Chevrolet-Blazer is the first car that the concern tried to assemble in Russia. Alas, the Russians did not appreciate the product
Chevrolet-Blazer is the first car that the concern tried to assemble in Russia. Alas, the Russians did not appreciate the product. Chevrolet-Blazer is the first car that the concern tried to assemble in Russia. Alas, the Russians did not appreciate the product.
But who was to become the buyer of this car in a country where they did not even hear about the middle class? Even then, I was surprised by the optimism of the Prime Minister, who promised at the launch of the JM Em Elabuga joint venture that "there will be economic growth, there will be wages - there will be buyers" (ZR, 1997, No. 3). In general, production did not move beyond the screwdriver stage; moreover, Russian all-terrain vehicles went to the far Tatarstan from the port on their own, and in the back seat lay film-wrapped bumpers and some other details.
The project was unlucky in everything: it was not possible to get the promised benefits in full, and materials appeared in the media that questioned the reliability of these cars: they say that their engines quickly die from getting to know our gasoline. In two years, a total of 3, 800 “blazers” were assembled in Yelabuga, and in 1999 production was curtailed. About a thousand cars that hung in warehouses were then sold for another two years at a 30 percent discount. In the same post-crisis year, the assembly of the Opel Vectra model in Yelabug was announced. They promised up to 75 thousand sedans a year, but picked up just … a few dozen. On that, the story of the first joint venture ended. Well, at least, the investments in the project turned out to be small - no equipment, except for a few lifts, was delivered to ElAZ.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, AvtoVAZ tried to create a successor to the popular Niva model. It almost succeeded: the VAZ-2123 model was repeatedly shown at exhibitions, it was liked by potential buyers, however … In order to bring to condition the models that were successful in design but raw in execution, and even more so put the model on the conveyor, AvtoVAZ had neither money nor other possibilities. Only cooperation with the world's largest manufacturer gave the new all-terrain vehicle a chance. On June 27, 2001, representatives of GM, AVTOVAZ and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed an agreement on the creation of a joint venture. Each side contributed a stake in the joint venture: AvtoVAZ (41.61% of the shares) - model VAZ-2123; General Motors (41.61% of the shares) - equipment for production, technology; EBRD (16.78% stake) - money needed to build a plant and launch the model in series.
Chevrolet Niva is the first joint US-Russian product. Successful: in nine years, more than 400 thousand off-road vehicles were sold
Chevrolet Niva is the first joint US-Russian product. Successful: in nine years, more than 400 thousand off-road vehicles were sold. Chevrolet Niva is the first joint US-Russian product. Successful: in nine years, more than 400 thousand off-road vehicles were sold.
On September 23, 2002, American-Russian Chevrolet Niva cars rolled off the assembly line; In total, over 400 thousand cars have been produced over the years. They are popular in Russia, but the plant has not reached its design capacity (100 thousand per year). From September 2004 to the beginning of 2008, the Chevrolet-Viva sedan (turned into an Opel Astra G) was produced in small batches. It cost almost as much as the new Astra model, which was sold in Russia under its own name, so it was not successful. In any case, according to unofficial information, investments in the joint venture paid off a long time ago and now the company brings profit to its shareholders. And now General Motors has big plans for it: starting in 2013, they will produce the new Chevrolet Niva and Lada 4x4 (also new!). So, it’s a stone's throw to the cherished bar of 100 thousand cars a year.
And in 2003, GM Corporation acquired another partner in Russia - the Kaliningrad plant AUTOTOR. At first, in a small workshop, expensive cars were assembled using the coarse-assembly method: Hammer, Cadillac, Chevrolet Tahoe and Trailblazer all-terrain vehicles, but soon they turned to mass models. In November 2008, the Americans launched a Chevrolet Lacetti model on AUTO. The construction and equipment of welding and painting workshops cost the parties approximately 80 million euros. In addition, in Kaliningrad, a large-site assembly of ten Opel and Chevrolet models is underway. According to some reports, GM, although it did not include AUTHOR in the general investment agreement, is actively investing in it.
Everything as it should be in a modern enterprise. A three-dimensional check of the geometry of the body is also provided
Everything as it should be in a modern enterprise. A three-dimensional check of the geometry of the body is also provided. Everything as it should be in a modern enterprise. A three-dimensional check of the geometry of the body is also provided.
General Motors has two more enterprises, which, although located outside of Russia, are actively working on our market. This is, firstly, the GM-Uzbekistan plant - the former UzDau. Until 2011, he supplied only obsolete Daewoo models to Russia through his own dealer network (the American company bought a Korean company ten years ago). Since last year, new Chevrolet Spark hatchbacks have been coming to us from Uzbekistan. And from 2013, according to some reports, it is at the Asaka plant that they will begin to assemble the latest Chevrolet-Cobalt budget model, primarily for the Russian market.
Secondly, in 2004, General Motors became the general partner of the Zaporizhzhya Automobile Plant. At the same time, the production of Opel-Astra G cars for the domestic, Ukrainian market started in Zaporozhye, and the Daewoo Lanos car, which has been produced since 1998, became known as the Chevrolet Lanos T-150. After minor modifications, the sedan began to be imported into Russia, and it quickly became one of our most popular foreign cars. In just six years, almost 200 thousand "Lanos" were sold! The car is now being delivered to our market, but it is called differently - "ZAZ-Chance" - and formally has no relation to the American concern anymore.
Although by the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, GM already had four partner companies that assembled four-brand cars for the Russian consumer, the dream of owning a factory did not leave the company’s managers. And in June 2006, on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, in the industrial zone of Shushary, a plant was founded, which was simply called: “General Motors Auto”. It was solemnly opened two years later, in 2008, on November 7. The investments of the American concern in the production complex are estimated at $ 300 million. So far, it is designed to produce 100 thousand cars a year; Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra go off its assembly line. The localization level of production in St. Petersburg was brought up to 30%.
The General Motors plant in St. Petersburg is designed to produce 100 thousand cars per year in a full cycle - with welding, painting and assembly
The General Motors plant in St. Petersburg is designed to produce 100 thousand cars per year in a full cycle - with welding, painting and assembly. The General Motors plant in St. Petersburg is designed to produce 100 thousand cars per year in a full cycle - with welding, painting and assembly.
In 2011, GM and the Russian government signed a massive investment agreement for a decade. In the next five years, the company will increase the productivity of the plant in St. Petersburg to 230 thousand, and the JM-AVTOVAZ joint venture - up to 120 thousand cars a year. The scientific and technical center will be organized on the basis of the Togliatti enterprise (its branch will be opened at the plant in St. Petersburg). Motor production will appear in Tolyatti - for 120 thousand engines and transmissions.
But that is far from all. General Motors intends to develop production on a contract basis. Kaliningrad AUTOTOR will continue to assemble different models of the Cadillac, Opel, Chevrolet, taking advantage of the benefits of a special economic zone. Starting this year, the Gorky Automobile Plant will start producing the updated Chevrolet Aveo (30 thousand a year). If you add the potential capacity of all Russian enterprises that produce cars with the emblems of the American concern, you get half a million cars annually. And this is without taking into account the Uzbek plant, which has the right to supply its products to Russia duty free.
So far, all engines that are installed on cars of Russian assembly (except for Chevrolet Niva) are imported. But the plans - its own motor production in Togliatti
So far, all engines that are installed on cars of Russian assembly (except for Chevrolet Niva) are imported. But the plans - its own motor production in Togliatti. So far, all engines that are installed on cars of Russian assembly (except for Chevrolet Niva) are imported. But the plans - its own motor production in Togliatti.
In Russia, General Motors has 156 Chevrolet car dealers, 129 Opel, 28 Cadillac. According to the results of 11 months of 2011, the company ranked second in sales in the Russian Federation - after AvtoVAZ (220.4 thousand cars of three brands were sold).