Category: Automakers

The Italians Return To Russia


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Video: The Italians Return To Russia
Video: Невероятные приключения итальянцев в России (комедия, реж. Эльдар Рязанов, 1973 г.) 2023, February
The Italians Return To Russia
The Italians Return To Russia

But these glorious events are in the past; In recent years, FIAT has rapidly lost its market share even in its homeland, and sales in Russia of three brands included in the concern (FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Lancia) last year amounted to only 168 units - three times less than XinKai, an unknown Chinese company! Today, the name of one of the oldest brands in the world does not cause any special feelings among Russians. They just started to forget her.

And now, it turns out, we can expect the next appearance of Italians in Russia. This time thanks to the efforts of the Russian company Severstal-Auto.


It all began in 2000, when the metallurgical giant Severstal unexpectedly acquired shares at first at the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant, and then also at the Zavolzhsky Motor Plant. In the spring of 2002, these shares were transferred to the authorized capital of a subsidiary of Severstal-Auto. It has become a manager for two plants, it now owns 66% of the authorized capital of UAZ and 75% of ZMZ. As a result, ZMZ managed to break even, and at the UAZ release new models - “Hunter” and “Patriot” (although the plant remains unprofitable so far).

This was not enough for metallurgists, and in June 2005, Severstal-Avto bought a 99.6% stake in OJSC ZMA (the former KamAZ compact car factory, where the lion's share of VAZ 1111 Oka was collected). The production site in Naberezhnye Chelny was chosen “as the most effective solution in terms of investment costs”, and at the end of that year the first licensed Sanyon-Rekston off-road vehicles left the local assembly line. As you know, this did not end there. Since the beginning of 2007, the production of two FIAT models has been launched at ZMA facilities.

The first is Albea: a four-door sedan with a 1.4-liter engine (76 hp) and a manual gearbox, the second Palio is a five-door hatchback with the same engine and gearbox. A few years ago it was promoted in our market, but not too successfully. Since then, the car has survived facelift under the guidance of maestro Giugiaro.

According to Severstal-Auto executives, both cars “fall into the most dynamically growing segment of the automotive market and have every chance to compete for its significant share.” In addition to these models, the FIAT-Doblo cargo-and-passenger van will apparently also get onto the conveyor. Severstal estimates the total investment in organizing the production of 30–40 thousand FIAT cars per year here at $ 17.9 million.

Initially, it could be assumed that metallurgists, buying ZMA, did not intend to limit themselves to assembling Rexton all-terrain vehicles there (the sales volume is unlikely to exceed 1000 units per year), but they will look for an inexpensive passenger car for production. But why the choice fell far from the most popular among us “Italians”?

“The main reason is that they have successful experience in organizing assembly projects in third countries,” explains Vadim Shvetsov, head of Severstal-Auto. - There are not so many such companies in the world. In addition, it was necessary to offer a modern, high-quality and inexpensive product for Russia. In a word, this is how we and FIAT came to each other - he, too, was looking for a partner in our country.

At the same time, the Russians are not stopped by the fact that the Italian automaker is in a very difficult economic situation.


“Our business is built so that we do not work directly with FIAT, but with its very successful Turkish joint venture - one of the most powerful enterprises in our country,” says V. Shvetsov. - It is this company that will organize deliveries for us. Given that almost all components for the assembly are localized in Turkey, we can assume that we are protected from all the shocks that could affect the "parent" company. Although, as the numbers say, FIAT itself is gradually emerging from the crisis and has recently proposed new, modern, competitive models for Europe.

Harbinger of Change

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