presentation of a largely unusual car. He will take part in the most difficult competition - the rally "Dakar-2007"! Thus, a start will be given to a new stage in the development of the enterprise.
We are convinced that the most powerful plant producing almost a million cars (961 thousand cars and car kits were made last year) should participate in prestigious international competitions. And do not just participate. Returning to the Dakar track (in the 1990s, Niva and all-wheel drive G8s started to rally), we are aimed at a decent result, and not only for the sake of sports and image tasks.
Of course, we will build a car for the marathon according to the racing canons: with lightweight body panels on a spatial frame. Some units will be imported. But in the design of the rally car, in some technical solutions, it touched the future, moving towards a serial off-road vehicle, which will eventually replace the Niva VAZ 2121 4. This is one of the main directions for the future. In the meantime, we do not intend to abandon the well-deserved Niva: demand, and therefore the potential of the model, has not been exhausted.
An energetic impulse is also necessary for the development of the latest Lada-Kalina family. Already this summer, the viburnum with a hatchback body and a 1.4-liter engine will go into series. A version with such an engine should attract buyers with efficiency (compared with the currently used 1.6 liter). In addition, preparing this modification, we, of course, thought about export. A little later the hatchback wagon will appear.
In general, the Kalina platform is designed so that it is suitable for a wide variety of modifications: from a coupe to a micro-van, including an all-wheel drive transmission. The expansion of the model range is still constrained by the lack of space for new technological equipment. But this problem is completely solved, and in the foreseeable future.
In relation to Kalina, we are very busy with diesel engines. Samples with imported motors are already being tested. But a final decision has not yet been made, so it's too early to talk about the diesel version. But another novelty, as they say, is at the doorstep: in summer, dealers will receive the first “priors” with a sedan body. We will produce them with 1.6-liter 8- and 16-valve engines, familiar from cars of the "tenth" family. But the Priora will not displace it from the assembly line, but will complement the VAZ lineup. Having settled down at the wheel, the buyer will immediately understand that the novelty is more modern, spacious, comfortable than the current Togliatti models of this class. By the way, the electric power steering for the Priors is the basic equipment. The possibility of installing two airbags. But they will still be an option, because the price of a pair is about $ 600. The next step in the development of the Priora family is a hatchback and station wagon.
In the longer term, a completely new platform, corresponding to the European class C. It will meet the most stringent safety requirements, which will come into force in the Old World in 2010. Already, work is underway on several bodies; the first car will appear by the autumn Moscow International Auto Show. And not a concept car, but a driving prototype.
We understand: without attracting partners on the Russian technological base, it will not be possible to make a modern car that meets all the requirements. In the design and development of cars of the new family, VAZ intends to cooperate with foreign companies, primarily engineering and design.
In the future, on the new platform, you can create an extensive family, including an all-wheel drive station wagon with increased ground clearance, a minivan, an SUV class SUV. It is his external features, by the way, echoing the stylistics of the popular Niva, that will be reflected in the Dakar rally car.
The new family, of course, will require the creation of a modern high-tech production. The work has already begun; in the first approximation, it will take three to four years.
And finally, we will soon begin to design an all-terrain vehicle of a higher patency than that of the Niva. This strong car is conceived primarily as a field, army. Therefore, we will build it in accordance with the specific requirements of the military. Over time, apparently, a civilian version will appear.
Long-term plans, of course, have yet to be adjusted, responding primarily to market requirements. The main thing: strategic directions for the development of the VAZ are defined. We are focused on specific, noticeable results, not only in sports, but most importantly in the creation of mass production models.
The conversation about promising VAZ models, the chairman of the board of directors Vladimir Artyakov and the editor-in-chief of “Behind the Wheel”, Peter Menshikh, started at the Geneva motor show, surrounded by new products from the global automotive industry. Sparkling concepts and already production cars (and some of them a year and a half ago seemed equally unearthly!) Are a good reason to reflect on the future of domestic manufacturers.