Car Giant AvtoVAZ Shifts Gear to Automatic

Russia’s auto giant AvtoVAZ plans to launch its first serial production of automatic transmission cars, in a partnership with JATCo, a Japanese transmission maker.

JATCo President Takashi Hata has said his company, which makes automatic and continuously variable transmissions, could set up a production facility in Russia, if AvtoVAZ’s automatic transmission Lada Granta cars sell well.

“The four-speed automatic transmissions supplied by JATCo will be the first two-pedal car for many customers in Russia,” he said at an opening ceremony on June 15 for the company’s representative office in Togliatti, where AvtoVAZ is based. “JATCo will spare no efforts in attracting even more customers in the Russian market to accept two-pedal vehicles, and hopes to bring much excitement and inspiration in driving to the people of Russia,” he added.

AvtoVAZ plans to start selling automatic transmission models of its economy-class Granta sedan in August 2012. The Russian auto giant intends to sell about 80,000 such cars annually.

AvtoVAZ is also likely to install automatic transmission on its restyled Lada Kalina model, which will be presented at the Moscow automobile show in August 2012.

AvtoVAZ boosted production in May for the first time this year, producing 10.4 percent more vehicles year-on-year, Autostat agency reported citing Rosstat data.

AvtoVAZ, which has a history of being a loss-making enterprise and had a heavy debt burden until recently, has been able to improve its financial position and boost sales with the help of a state-backed ‘cash-for-clunkers’ program, which ended last year.

The company needs to produce modern and technologically advanced cars to successfully compete with foreign competition, with the Russian car market gradually opening to competition after the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization later this year.


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