Soviet man had something to dream about! For example, to become an astronaut. Or else - buy the Volga. However, to realize such dreams was a sign of exclusivity. The Volga was not shining for ordinary workers; to purchase such a car in personal ownership could only a senior official or person with connections. Yes, what I'm telling - everyone, of course, remembers the wonderful film “Watch out for the car!”.
FROM THE SOVIET PAST
The history of the Gorky Automobile Plant is to some extent the history of our country, with all its victories and problems, labor exploits and cap-making. On the last day of May 1929, the USSR and the American company Ford signed an agreement on technical assistance in establishing mass production of Ford-A and Ford-AA cars and trucks. Thanks to a successful project, sensible leadership, the enthusiasm of builders, and the amazed Americans to abandon the social component of the project (for example, heating appeared in workshops many years later), it was built ahead of schedule - in just 18 months.
On January 1, 1932, the Nizhny Novgorod automobile plant became one of the existing ones, and after 28 days the first car left the assembly line. The first director was awarded the order for this, and subsequently shot for the same. The automobile plant (later renamed GAZ, then the plant named after Molotov and again GAZ) for 60 years increased volumes and produced the legendary Soviet cars: GAZ-51, -53, -66, "emku", "Pobeda", "Volga", " The Seagull "… This continued until the end of the 80s of the last century. The plant worked strictly on assignment approved by the State Planning Commission. All the trucks produced in large numbers went to the construction sites of the national economy and to the army units, the Volga went to departments, taxi companies and (a small part!) Well-deserved people.
The state allocated very little funds for design work. And why, if all the cars produced find their consumer? Therefore, such interesting developments as the promising front-wheel drive sedan GAZ-3103 and its all-wheel drive fellow 3104 remained in the prototypes. But another car, created on the initiative from below, after a few years literally saved a huge plant. The fact is that in 1989, in the wake of perestroika, GAZ was carried away by the idea of a light truck (with a gross weight of up to 3.5 tons). Five years later, the model stood on the conveyor under the name "Gazelle" …
On the conveyor "Gazelle"
On the conveyor "Gazelle". On the conveyor "Gazelle".
BURLAK, ATAMAN AND OTHERS
In the 90s of the last century, GAZ entered a prosperous socialist enterprise, and ended the decade almost bankrupt … Although it all started well. The car factory did its best to adapt to the new market conditions and became one of the first in the industry to become a corporation - in November 1992. N. Pugin, the former Minister of the automobile industry of the USSR, became the president of the AO. Once he started at GAZ, only now everything in life has changed.
Demand for medium-sized trucks, which formed the basis of the plant’s production program, fell catastrophically. Somehow it was necessary to maintain both the enterprise and the whole district of the city. But the huge demand for cars deferred from the time of the USSR made it almost double the Volga output (up to 125 thousand cars a year!). Actually, they earned money on earned money, trying to master new niches in an incomprehensible market. So, in the mid-1990s, a GAZ-2304 Burlak pickup truck was built on the Volga base, but he did not go into the series - it was much more profitable to make cars.
But the GAZelle light truck (or just the "Gazelle") that appeared in July 1994 became not only the first serial lorry of the Gorky Automobile Plant after the war, but also a real bestseller. Outwardly, he looked like a commercial Ford Transit - not a bad example to follow. Let the cars were distinguished by increased “breakage”, but they were repaired on the knee. And with the “right” use, the Russian first wave merchant beat off the cost of the Gazelle in three to four months! Six months later, he sold a truck or a van somewhere in the hinterland and bought a new “Gazelle” … In a word, the “gazelle” family became the most demanded among GAZ cars, and then the plant began to live at his expense. For 17 years, almost 1.5 million commercial vehicles in many modifications have been produced in Nizhny Novgorod - a kind of record!
In parallel with this, in the 1990s, designers almost every year issued next "concepts" of pickups and SUVs: the GAZ-2308 Ataman, the GAZ-23081 Ataman Ermak, the GAZ-3106 Ataman-2 … they are at exhibitions gathered a lot of fans of the brand, but, alas, not a single one went into the series. 1997 promised to be a turning point in the post-Soviet history of GAZ. Still, so many significant events! That year, the old Volga was renewed once again by assigning the index 3110. A large Austrian company, Steyr, bought a license for a family of diesel engines for cars and commercial vehicles. And at the end of the year, GAZ entered into an agreement with the Italian concern Fiat to establish a joint venture Nizhny Novgorod Motors. They planned to produce annually over 100 thousand passenger cars of two or three models, no less! Under the new joint venture, they received state guarantees, prepared the workshops of the former GAZ diesel engine plant, even purchased modern painting equipment … Due to the 1998 default, the project was not implemented. In memory of him, a painting shop that meets all world standards remained at GAZ. And thanks for that! And in August 1998 at the Moscow Motor Show for the first time they showed the concept of a new executive sedan GAZ-3111. Built, like the previous "Volga", on the rear-wheel drive platform, it appeared much more modern and comfortable.
Welding robots are one of the most advanced in the global automotive industry
Welding robots are one of the most advanced in the global automotive industry. Welding robots are one of the most advanced in the global automotive industry.
The late 1990s was remembered as a black stripe in the history of the plant. None of the conceived projects was brought to the end, moreover, the credits gained on the rise pulled production to the bottom. Not even enough funds to buy components. In order to somehow get out of the vicious circle, the plant's leaders did their best to use barter-bill settlements. We settled with suppliers and partners with ready-made machines and spare parts, which completely broke the market. “Gazelles” and “Volga” could be bought not only from dealers, but also through a host of other non-core companies, which often gave cars obviously cheaper.
In a word, to the beginning of the new century, the giant of the domestic industry came up, consider it bankrupt. Only the unexpected appearance of a strategic investor was his salvation. In November 2000, Oleg Deripaska, the Basic Element company, acquired a blocking, and then a controlling stake in GAZ OJSC.
AUTOMOBILE ADVENTURES OF METALLURGES IN RUSSIA
Then many wondered: why should a prosperous oligarch buy a dying plant, weighed down by a bunch of problems and social obligations? Much easier and more profitable to produce aluminum and sell abroad.
“Those who are interested in automobiles know that aluminum is one of the main components in the production of automotive equipment,” O. Deripaska then explained in his interview to ZR the logic of his actions (ZR, 2001, No. 5). - And if I already head the structures producing aluminum in large quantities, then why not combine them with automobile production? Such a step suggested itself.”
This is all clear and logical, but now another thing is clear: at the first moment, the metallurgists did not have a serious, well-thought-out plan for managing the enterprise, its restructuring, and further development. Although the first step was the only right one in that situation: the new owners immediately abandoned barter-bill settlement schemes - only real money, no "you to me - I to you". Fortunately, they had the means to lend to their company. This allowed GAZ to breathe quietly for some time and even carry out a restyling of its nurse, Gazelle, in 2003. In addition, a major reorganization immediately began at the plant, and the trading network was rebuilt. A number of projects (the development of Ataman pickups and all-terrain vehicles, the new segment D passenger car) were turned off immediately, and the GAZ-3111 production was decided to continue. In 2000-2004 in Nizhny Novgorod released a small batch of these prestigious sedans. But there was no demand for them - due to poor quality, as well as very high prices at that time (from 13 thousand dollars). In total, about 450 cars were assembled at GAZ. "Eleventh" was the last attempt to create a car on their own.
At the beginning of the XXI century there was also a small metallurgical war for motor production. Two oligarchs - O. Deripaska and A. Mordashov - almost simultaneously acquired two automobile plants: GAZ and UAZ. Each of these plants had an adjacent motor plant: Zavolzhsky (ZMZ) and Ulyanovsk (UMP). What a fly has bitten both oligarchs, there is still no explanation, but they literally took “alien” motor plants from under each other’s nose. And although the “gazelles” and “Volga” have long been equipped with ZMZ engines (they were specially created for them), the plant went to the Severstal-Avto holding company (now Sollers). And vice versa. Competitors failed to agree on prices and delivery rules and were forced to come up with various compromises. So, modernized UMP engines, designed for completely different cars, are still installed on the gazelle, and the Volga in recent years was generally equipped with Chrysler motors from Mexico. Your affairs are wonderful, Lord.
And although the new owners managed to bring the car factory to the level of profitability by the middle of the decade, this was due to the fact that they began to focus on the development of the most competitive direction - light commercial vehicles (LCV). To further strengthen their position, in 2006 they even bought the English LDV Group plant, which specialized in the production of Maxus light front-wheel drive vans. The release of the English car kits was established at the beginning of 2008 in Nizhny Novgorod; planned full-scale production - up to 50 thousand vans per year. Due to another financial crisis, the project had to be curtailed, and in May 2009 the British plant was sold for nothing.
At the same time, the leaders of GAZ did not abandon attempts to maintain the production of cars in Nizhny Novgorod. Just how? The demand for Volga sedans (models 31105 and 3102) fell from year to year: they are outdated both morally and physically. The last car of this series left the assembly line at the end of 2008. But a little earlier, in 2006, GAZ Group bought the Sterling Hills assembly plant from the Daimler-Chrysler concern, where medium-sized (according to the American classification) Chrysler-Sebring sedans were produced.
Volga-Cyber is an unsung song of the plant
Volga-Cyber is an unsung song of the plant. Volga-Cyber is an unsung song of the plant.
Why this particular model was chosen, which is not too popular at home and has already been discontinued there, is a mystery. According to many experts, the deal amount of $ 150 million also looks pretty overpriced. Be that as it may, in July 2008, American sedans began to be assembled on American equipment in Nizhny Novgorod, which in Russia received a nameplate with a deer and the name “Volga- Cyber. " To begin with, it was planned to produce 65 thousand cars a year, but the development of the model was delayed (is the crisis to blame again?), Buyers met it indifferently - as a result, the assembly was curtailed at the end of 2010. In two years, 8.7 thousand "cyber" people were released.
In 2008-2009, GAZ again slipped to the brink of bankruptcy: in the crisis, sales of commercial vehicles fell by 60% (this segment reacts most actively to market fluctuations), debts accumulated - over 20 billion rubles. The state came to the rescue, which provided loans with its guarantees; managed to agree on a restructuring of obligations with creditor banks … Finally, GAZ overcame the crisis only in 2010.
It must be said that over ten years, while GAZ was owned by metallurgists, at least four management teams have changed at the plant - of course, each new chief proposed his own development strategy. At some point, the owners were tired of experiments, and in the summer of 2009, Bo Andersson became the president of GAZ Group, before that he was one of the top managers of General Motors. Then the main directions of the development of the Gorky Automobile Plant were identified: firstly, the modernization of the production of commercial trucks, and secondly, the search for a partner in the assembly of cars.
TODAY AND TOMORROW
Inspection in the sprinkler chamber are all cars
Inspection in the sprinkler chamber are all cars. Inspection in the sprinkler chamber are all cars.
In 2010, GAZ produced 70.3 thousand trucks (+ 78% compared to 2009); the company covers almost 60% of the country's LCV market. Last February, the Gazelle-Business model appeared in this series; In July, sales of diesel modifications began. Next year, according to the director of the Commercial Cars division, Vadim Sorokin, in Nizhny Novgorod they will assemble the first batch of completely new Gazel-Next vans and trucks. These cars will also be frame, but with an independent front suspension; as we are promised, they will not lose such advantages of Nizhny Novgorod cars as the low price and cost of ownership, coupled with the convenience of maintenance and repair in any corner of Russia. In addition, production of special equipment based on their chassis was established right at the factory - more than 150 (!) Options.
But the company intends to return to the passenger segment, only thanks to the contract assembly of cars of foreign brands. Already at the end of this year, the first Skoda-Yeti crossover will be assembled by the large-knot method in the workshop where the Cyber was made. The plans of the Volkswagen concern, which in 2011 signed an investment agreement with the Russian government, to assemble about 110 thousand cars of the Skoda-Yeti, Skoda-Octavia and Volkswagen-Jetta models in Nizhny Novgorod annually. Full cycle! On the next branch of the conveyor under a contract with another global manufacturer, General Motors, starting next summer, they will start producing Chevrolet Aveo - 30 thousand cars a year, and also in full cycle. In 2015, the Gorky Automobile Plant plans to produce 140 thousand cars of three brands.
In addition, another agreement is being negotiated with the Daimler concern on the organization of production of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter light commercial vehicles since 2012. In general, the former giant of the Soviet industry, after 20 years of throwing, seemed to find its place under the market sun and became a completely profitable enterprise; working on it again is prestigious. Only now will the legendary Volga brand ever revive?
Since 2005, the Gorky Automobile Plant has been part of the GAZ Group, the country's largest automotive holding. In addition to GAZ itself, it has four bus plants (PAZ, GolAZ, KavZ, LiAZ), the Kanash auto-aggregate plant, the Saransk dump truck plant, the Ural automobile plant in Miass, a number of motor enterprises and other industries throughout Russia. The group ranks seventh in the world in the production of light commercial vehicles.