The history of the creation of an automobile enterprise in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, where only agriculture and the tourism sector had been developed before, is, in fact, a story about the realization of a boyish dream. From childhood, the Derevo brothers raved about cars. Growing up, they were engaged in a variety of matters, and since the late 1980s, they were among the first in the republic to develop their business - the production of confectionery, furniture, then mineral water and alcohol. Big money opened the opportunity to invest "for the soul." So the dream got an opportunity to come true, and on the outskirts of Cherkessk, the capital of the republic, the automobile factory of the diversified company Mercury appeared, for which they came up with the beautiful foreign name Derways. It is deciphered simply: “Der” - from the name of the founders, “weiss” (ways) - “roads” in translation from English.
It began with the fact that one of the brothers met with the designer from Togliatti Oleg Shapkin. He proposed the creation of a small design team, which will develop and prepare for mass production an all-terrain vehicle. It was required to find a suitable platform, power units, design an original body … Those who wanted to earn money in such a team were found quickly, and the work began to boil, since customers paid generously.
This is what the factory looked like in 2004 …
It looked like a factory in 2004 … It looked like a factory in 2004 …
… when a single model was assembled in his workshop
… when a single model was assembled in his workshop. … when a single model was assembled in his workshop.
A prototype on the chassis of the Romanian ARC was made in just a few months. Then, in 2002, the automobile division of the Mercury holding was registered - in fact, the country's first private enterprise for the design and manufacture of cars.
In the summer of 2003, at the Moscow International Motor Show, the prototype was shown to specialists and visitors. The model was called the Derways Cowboy. Made in the brutal style of the then fashionable “Gelendavagen”, the car looked, though not original, but defiant. They promised to master its mass production in the coming months, and set a price slightly lower than the cost of UAZ-Patriot.
And do not be fooled! “Cowboy”, or “Derways-3131”, passed tests at the NAMI training ground, received a certificate. In the summer of 2004, the plant was officially opened and mass production began. A ZMZ gasoline engine or French diesel was placed on a Romanian frame, then the skeleton was surrounded by metal and plastic body parts, interior elements …
"Cowboy" - the first-born of the plant. It turned out that he had really good off-road abilities
"Cowboy" - the first-born of the plant. It turned out that he had really good off-road abilities! "Cowboy" - the first-born of the plant. It turned out that he had really good off-road abilities!
The car was equipped not bad for those times: air conditioning, steering wheel with leather trim and height adjustment, power windows, servo adjustment of exterior mirrors, sunroof. According to safety requirements, “Cowboy” fit into Russian GOSTs - thanks to the frame and doors with shockproof beams. With the rear seats folded down, the trunk increased from 600 to 1, 600 liters. Beauty! It is a pity, the power plants did not fit too well: the French diesel was rather weak, and the Volga gas engine was not reliable. But still, the cars found buyers. Local patriotism played a large role in this: almost all the “cowboys” remained to live in the North Caucasus or in the southern regions of Russia.
But in 2005, the Romanian company ARO, a supplier of chassis, went bankrupt. The owners of Derveis tried to use different models of Chinese all-terrain vehicles, but nothing came of this venture and at the end of the year the production of Cowboy ceased. In total, they managed to release 800 copies. And the plant, where several hundred people were working by then, had to look for a new niche.
By the beginning of 2006, new partners appeared in Cherkessk - the Chinese. For some time, the company still reassured themselves with the hope of producing models of its own design. But they soon realized: this is too expensive a path. So the Chinese exotic blossomed in the walls of the plant. Say, the Derways-313120, or the Shuttle, was actually a purebred Chinese Dadi Shuttle all-terrain vehicle. That was not the most successful clone of known models (the body was spied on from the Opel Fronter, the chassis was borrowed from Toyota Foranner). But on the grille flaunted the nameplate of the Derweis, on the steering wheel - the inscription "Dadi". A total of 320 shuttles were released.
The Derways 313150 Aurora is another experiment on the subject of Chinese off-road vehicles
The Derways 313150 Aurora is another experiment on the subject of Chinese off-road vehicles. The Derways 313150 Aurora is another experiment on the subject of Chinese off-road vehicles.
Then, the Derveis-313150 Aurora off-road vehicles that resembled the San Yong-Rexton (351 cars released) began to leave the assembly shop. They were quickly replaced by the Derways-313130 Land Crown, which was frantically similar to the Toyota Land Cruiser 90 (33 cars were assembled). Then - “Derveis-313140 Saladin”, an almost exact copy of the Nissan Passenger (33 copies).
It is clear that they copied popular models not in Cherkessk, but at the factories of the Chinese companies Dadi, Sinkai and others; in the North Caucasus, they were only assembled from car kits and nameplates were changed (partially). Due to the scantiness of the batches, the cars were not even certified, but were formalized as variations on the “Cowboy-3131” theme (Russian legislation allowed this).
In total, in 2006, 788 cars were produced in this way. The next year began with an attempt to collect another Chinese clone, now the Derways-233300 Plutus pickup. However, events began to develop in a completely different scenario.
The Derways-313120 Shuttle was offered $ 22, 000 five years ago. Even for that price, there were few buyers
The Derways-313120 Shuttle was offered $ 22, 000 five years ago. Even for that price, there were few buyers. The Derways-313120 Shuttle was offered $ 22, 000 five years ago. Even for that price, there were few buyers.
In that year, there was an explosion of interest in inexpensive Chinese cars in Russia - on its wave, for example, the assembly of the Chery-Amulet liftback and the Chery-For sedan at the Kaliningrad plant AUTOTOR began to be assembled. In defiance of him, Avtomir, the largest multi-brand dealer, decided to organize mass sales in Russia of a certain budget Chinese small car.
After negotiations with a number of companies, the choice fell on not the largest, but the most dynamic company Lifan, hitherto known mainly for motorcycles. In the Chinese market, she offered at that time only one model - on the old Citroen-ZX platform. Automakers liked the car, but in order for the price in Russia to be low, a domestic assembly was required. It was then that someone remembered a small Circassian plant, where capacity was idle, and the staff had already gained some experience. In addition, the management of Derweis itself was looking for a model for assembly and was ready to invest its own money in the expansion of the plant, while Autoworld undertook to organize sales in the country.
TWO CHINESE POLICY
The site of the installation of power units
The site of the installation of power units. The site of the installation of power units.
In July 2008, a new workshop was solemnly opened in Cherkessk, designed to assemble up to 25 thousand cars a year; the launch of the welding workshop was outlined at the beginning of 2009. So far, one model was assembled at Derweis - the Lifan-Breeze (7.2 thousand units were released that year), but it was planned to add others to it soon. And they appeared: in 2009, Lifan-Solano, and at the beginning of 2011, Lifan-Smiley.
True, the plans were significantly corrected by the next financial crisis that swept Russia at the end of 2008. Demand for low-cost Chinese cars fell, Auto-World was on the verge of bankruptcy, and the joint project collapsed. All rights to the distribution of "Lifans" went to Derways. I had to build a new dealer network, and simultaneously negotiate with Chinese partners. Do not throw a fairly modern plant, which has invested about 85 million dollars!
In the paint shop - sedans "Lifan-Solano."
In the paint shop - sedans "Lifan-Solano." In the paint shop - sedans "Lifan-Solano."
In addition, almost 1, 000 people were already working in the Circassian automobile industry - this is impressive for a city with a population of 120, 000. As a result, 2009 was a very difficult year for Derweis (about 1000 “Lifans” were produced), but it was possible to retain personnel and the enterprise itself. And at the beginning of 2010, we started the full assembly (with welding and painting) of two Lifan models - Breeze and Solano, assembled Gili-MK sedans in small batches for Red Dragon, mastered welding and painting SUVs for Great Wall Hover SUVs …
In the fall of 2010, another line was launched at the plant, for 25 thousand cars a year - they began to assemble Jaima-3 sedans. It was planned to immediately produce a compact model of Khaimah-2, but so far the talk about it has calmed down. In general, if budget sedans of the "Lifana-Solano" class find buyers due to the low price, then much more expensive "highs" diverge badly: buyers are not used to the concept of "expensive Chinese car." Moreover, while the Circassian plant has real problems with the build quality, we at the editorial office were convinced of this by buying the serial sedan "Lifan-Solano" (ЗР, 2011, No. 10).
Khaima-3 is not very well sold here: the car is expensive (400-600 thousand rubles), and the quality is lame
Khaima-3 is not very well sold here: the car is expensive (400-600 thousand rubles), and the quality is lame. Khaima-3 is not very well sold here: the car is expensive (400-600 thousand rubles), and the quality is lame.
In 2011, at least 30 thousand Lifan, Gili and Khaimah cars were to be assembled in Cherkessk, as well as up to 10 thousand Great Wall Hover bodies welded and painted. The main volume of production fell on "Lifan-Solano" and "Smiley". But for now, the plant’s capacities and plans clearly exceed the demand for Chinese cars: in the nine months of 2011, for example, only 13 thousand “Lifans” found buyers in Russia. But at the Derwayce, according to calculations, they can assemble 70 thousand cars! There is already a project of the second stage of the plant. Only here consumers are still cautious about Chinese cars - primarily because of the quality …
What's next? As we are promised, in the near future another partner will come to Cherkessk - now Luxgen, an automobile company from Taiwan. Derways would like to assemble two or three of their models. Perhaps there will be other partners, because the Derevykh brothers group of companies Mercury created a serious partner last year: Sberbank of Russia became the owner of a 51% stake in the car factory. And there they know how to count money …
The price of Lifan-Smiley starts at 259 thousand rubles. And in the database - power steering, power accessories, two airbags
The price of Lifan-Smiley starts at 259 thousand rubles. And in the database - power steering, power accessories, two airbags. The price of Lifan-Smiley starts at 259 thousand rubles. And in the database - power steering, power accessories, two airbags.
100 thousand in the future Derways was established in 2002 as the first private car manufacturing and assembly company in Russia. The plans include the development of our own plant models. On the territory of 23.5 hectares there are housings for assembly from CKD sets, welding and painting. The production is equipped with a modern line for quality control. Now Chinese cars of three brands are being assembled in Cherkessk: Lifan, Khaimah and Gili. The total production capacity of the plant is up to 100 thousand cars per year.