Russian PM Vladimir Putin Opens Car Facility

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin inaugurated a new car manufacturing facility Wednesday, marking the latest milestone in the expanding Renault-Nissan Alliance and AVTOVAZ partnership.

Executives including AVTOVAZ President Igor Komarov, Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares and Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga hosted Putin at the “Job One” ceremony at the AVTOVAZ plant in Togliatti. The first car off the new line was the Lada Largus multi-purpose van.

EUR400 million were invested into this 250,000-square-meter industrial complex, which will take full advantage of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s expertise in engineering and cost savings.

The complex hosts the new production line inaugurated Wednesday. The line has a maximum capacity of 350,000 cars per year and will produce vehicles for the three brands – Renault, Nissan and AVTOVAZ.

Production starts with two new Lada models, followed by a Nissan vehicle later in 2012, and two Renaults in 2013. Five separate models will be produced across the three companies, reducing costs while preserving the unique characteristics of each brand.

“Our collaboration is deepening every day and increasing economies of scale across the Alliance,” said Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO and chairman Carlos Ghosn. “It’s a win-win for all parties – and the benefits keep accelerating as Russia becomes Europe’s economic engine of growth.”

The partnership started in 2008, when Renault bought a 25% stake in AVTOVAZ and began the transfer of technology and know-how to AVTOVAZ manufacturing facilities.

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Rakesh Raman