AvtoVAZ is Russia’s biggest car producer with around 1 million units being manufactured annually at its plant in Togliatti, Samara Region. The plant was established in 1971 as part of the Soviet-Italian FIAT-Lada project to produce Lada cars, and was unique at the time because most of the components for the cars were produced in-house.
This included a brand new Powder Metallurgy production line to produce 22 different PM parts using imported high quality iron powders and Western powder presses and sintering furnaces. The PM plant, which celebrated 40 years of PM production earlier this year, became a special “window to Europe” for other Soviet plants which were producing PM parts at the time.
AvtoVAZ is today 25% owned by Renault SA. Renault together with its partner Nissan Motor Co. is said to be in the process of taking a 50%-plus-one share of the car producer giving it effective control. Renault has the objective of taking a 40% share of the Russian car market by 2016. Car sales in Russia have been accelerating rapidly recently and are expected to brake the 3 million barrier before 2015 according to forecasts from Russia’s Ministry of Industry.