Russian carmaker AutoVAZ, more commonly known as Lada, is celebrating two impressive milestones this year.
A massive 30 million vehicles have been produced at the AutoVAZ JSC plant in Togliatti, Russia on this, the 50th Anniversary year of the automotive manufacturer.
In April 1970, six Lada 2101 ‘Zhuguli’ sedans (two in blue, and four in cherry red – to match the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic flag) rolled off the assembly line of the Togliatti factory, 1000km south-east of Moscow.
The plant, which employs more than 37,000 people, was once the largest in the world, takes up over 600 hectares (6 square km) of land and has over 300km of production lines.
In the first 18-years of operation, to the fall of the Soviet Union, over 4.8 million Fiat 124-derived Lada 2101 cars were produced, along with 7.1 million of the subsequent 2106 and 2107 generation sedans, and 2.5 million 4x4 Lada Nivas, which entered production in 1977.
Today, AutoVAZ Lada is the largest manufacturer in Russia, with over 20 per cent of the current sales market share. Russia’s road fleet, which still includes nearly one million original 2101 sedans, is 30 per cent comprised of AutoVAZ vehicles.
There are currently six Lada models in production: Vesta, Xray, Granta, Largus, Niva and 4x4. The ‘new’ Niva is a recently re-established variant of the ‘Chevy Niva’ which was a collaboration between Chevrolet and AutoVaz, where the current Lada 4x4 is in fact the original Niva – still in production some 43 years and counting.
A metallic red example of Russia’s best selling car, the Lada Granta, was the 30 millionth vehicle produced.