SPRING ON MAGNITOGORSK STREET
The Avtotor group of companies in Kaliningrad today has two production sites. One - in the area of the old port, where BMW has been assembled since 1999, and the second - almost outside the city, on Magnitogorskaya Street. Since 1997, Korean KIA has been assembled here, and since 2003, “Americans” of different brands from the General Motors concern have been collecting here. In the "German" territory - without changes (except that the assembly plan has grown), but in the Magnitogorsk - solid news. In spring, not only new models will appear here, but even new brands.
- Over the past year, we have had long and difficult negotiations with a long-standing partner - the Korean company KIA Motors. They were associated with a change in the lineup in Korea,”says Valery Gorbunov, General Director of Avtotor Group. - Some media even rushed to announce a complete break. Like, KIA now carries out all assembly projects only in Izhevsk. This is actually not the case. Our relationship continues, and in 2006 we will collect more than 3 thousand KIA Sportage off-road vehicles in Kaliningrad (a full-fledged CKD assembly was set up here, including body welding and painting - IM). In addition, we will assemble 3, 000 new-generation cars through the SKD system - Magentis, Carnival, and Opirus. Perhaps the lineup will be expanded - negotiations are underway. As well as about the full assembly of CKD another Korean model. Next year.
New brands that really appear at the factory do not come in return for the KIA brand, but in addition to it!
“Our goal from the very beginning was to make Avtotor a multi-brand enterprise,” explains V. Gorbunov, the company's management policy. - Firstly, this guarantees a constant load of capacities and we are not dependent on a single partner (this is really important, last year TagAZ was stopped several times when car kits were not delivered to Korea because of strikes - I.M.). Secondly, we want to be present in all market segments, for which we have been negotiating with promising partners for more than five years now. In 2003, they signed a general agreement with GM on the production of premium cars.
In Kaliningrad, they are collected about three thousand a year - all-terrain vehicles Hammer H2, Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet-Trail Blazer, as well as three models of the Cadillac brand. Since April, this range has expanded - the assembly of the Hammer N3 all-terrain vehicles began here and about 250 units will be released by the end of the year. At a price of 40 to 60 thousand dollars - this is one of the most interesting offers in this class, although it can hardly shock our car market. But two other events that also happened in Kaliningrad this spring are quite capable of this. They have been talking about them for a long time in an undertone, wondering if it will succeed, it will not work, but now it can be considered a fait accompli.
In the spring, Avtotor began the industrial assembly of GM-DAT General Motors-Daewoo vehicles. They are sold with us under the Chevrolet brand. These machines are known and already popular in Russia, and now, with the start of assembly in Kaliningrad, they are claiming to become bestsellers of sales. We are talking about four models: Chevrolet Aveo, Lazetti, Evanda and Rezzo. And from May, when they should start selling them, the supply of imported analogues will cease. In Kaliningrad, a full line of Korean-American cars with all possible body styles, engines, and trim levels will be justified. The plan for 2006 is 17.2 thousand cars, of which 30% will be attributed to Aveo, 62% to Lazetti, and 4% to Evanda and Rezzo each.
All specialists employed on the Chevrolet assembly line were trained at the corporation's factories in the USA and Korea, as well as at Avtotor’s own training center. This is all the more important because in the future the output will only increase (the plan for 2007 is already 34 thousand cars). The agreement between GM and Avtotor provides for a gradual complication of production - from SKD large assembly to full CKD. It is supposed already next year to “cook” and color two Chevrolet models in Kaliningrad; with a high degree of probability it can be assumed that these will be the popular Aveo and Lacetti.
Another brand comes to Kaliningrad - here they begin to assemble Chinese cars of the Chery brand. The first small batch arrived on the shores of the Baltic at the end of winter. Together with engineers from the Celestial Empire, the assembly technology was worked out on it, and in early May they should assemble a pilot industrial batch of 120 machines. The general plan for this year is 17, 640 “Chinese” of three models. Two of them are already familiar to readers of the ZR - this is the A15 lift amulet and the T11 Tiggo all-terrain vehicle. The third model - A21 - so far only specialists have seen; it is known about her that this is the company's own development, but from afar it, they say, is strikingly reminiscent of Volkswagen Passat.
“Amulet” and “Tiggo” of Chinese manufacture have already been sold in Russia since the beginning of the year and are inexpensive: the first - from 10.8 thousand dollars (1.6 liter engine, power steering, air conditioning, power accessories), the second - from 19.8 thousand. If you subtract 20%, taking into account the possible benefits of the "special economic zone", you get a well-equipped class C car for less than 10 thousand dollars! Then, plans to sell about 9 thousand “amulets” alone in our market in 2006 no longer seem fantasy!
But that is not all. A memorandum of construction was signed in Kaliningrad, near the Avtotor site on Magnitogorskaya Street, an assembly plant with a capacity of 150 thousand cars a year - especially for assembling Chery cars. The Chinese do not hide that the company, in the creation of which they intend to invest up to $ 200 million, will be oriented not only to the Russian market, but also to the European one. Here, they believe, the best base for the start of the conquest of Europe!