Nissan last sold a car branded as a Datsun in 1981, but it’s bring the brand back for emerging markets like Indonesia, India, Russia and South Africa. The low cost brand will be launching in April in Russia with a starting price below RUB400,000 ($12,100) and go on sale there in late summer or early fall. Nissan is hoping that the new/old brand will attract consumers that had been considering used cars.
“The main objective (in Russia) is to be a serious alternative to the used car market – this is where we want to compete,” Jerome Saigot, director of Datsun’s operations in Russia, told Reuters. (Read More…)
With the stroke of a few pens putting signatures under a contract in Moscow today, then Renault-Nissan Alliance has become Russia’s largest automaker. The Alliance took control of AVTOVAZ, maker of the market-leading Lada brand. Lada holds 30 percent of Russia’s rapidly growing car market. (Read More…)
Yesterday, The Nikkei was all worked up about a takeover of Russia’s largest automaker AvtoVaz by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The Nikkei became so excited that it forgot simple logic. More on that here. The Nikkei had it on not so good authority that Nissan would soon buy 25 percent of the Russians, and together with Renault’s 25 percent and change, Japan and France would finally achieve what had been tried before: Rule Russia. We had our doubts.
Do you hear the big hissing sound? That’s the lukewarm air coming out of the story. (Read More…)
You take some of my rescued state-owned automaker, and I’ll take some of yours. That seems to be the cunning plan cooked up by presidents Putin and Sarkozy, as the two face the prospect of rescuing struggling firms in the midst of a weak European market. And actually, it seems that the idea was really Putin’s. French-owned automaker Renault is “more than happy” with its 25 percent stake in the moribund Russian automaker AvtoVAZ, reports Bloomberg, but Russia is offering to buy 15 percent of the French firm if France in turn takes on more AvtoVAZ equity. Considering that Reanult paid $1b for 25 percent of a firm that has been kept alive only by government intervention, a closer embrace of VAZ does not seem advisable. Nor, frankly, does any form of “Franco-Russian Leyland” sound like a good idea.
Very likely this year, we should be in the top three
Volkswagen is currently in third place, with 6,290,000 units built in 2009. Nissan was in eigth place last year with 2,744,562 units (down 19 percent), while Renault came in tenth with 2,309,188 units (down 4.5 percent). Combined, the two firms accounted for 5,053,750 units, or about 1.2 billion units fewer than VW’s third-place showing (and only a few hundred thousand better than Ford, in fourth place).
Russian President Vladimir Putin first showed off his badass camo Lada Niva early last year, in an attempt to boost the fortunes of the floundering state-supported Russian automaker AvtoVAZ. What Putin didn’t reveal until just now is that his Niva isn’t exactly stock.”I won’t hide it [anymore?] , the car I bought has an Opel engine,” he tells the WaPo. “It turns out that it’s more powerful.” Now wonder Russian parliamentarians are starting to advocate dumping AvtoVAZ on Renault, which in turn is drawing a familiar homerism from local pols in Russia’s Detroit, Tolyatti. In other car-salesman-in-chief developments today, Barack Obama revealed that he believes GM is a world-class automaker because his Cadillac is so badass.
Renault may be playing Russian Roulette, but at least it seems the French automaker is finally playing nicely with Avtovaz and the Kremlin. Maybe the thought of ending up like Mikhail Khodorkovsky spurred Carlos Ghosn into action? Or maybe Ghosn came around when he found out that the Kremlin is going to put $1.7 billion into the ailing Russian car maker. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Renault will invest a mere €300 million in the form of of a technology transfer so that Avtovaz can start building the Logan, Renault’s smash hit in Eastern Europe. It’s like the Fiat-Chrysler deal, only cheaper! Renault will also help Avtovaz develop a new car to replace the Zhiguli (I’d never heard of it, either). Some of this production will happen in Russia’s far east and Renault’s Japanese subsidiary is there to help!
Renault may be about to learn the folly of buying into a Russian company with close ties to the Russian government instead of establishing a presence of their own. Renault recently took a 25% stake in Avtovaz and things have gone from bad to worse. Avtovaz cut its staff by 25% and is now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Which is why Russia’s deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov, on Sunday said “If the Renault-Nissan alliance wishes to increase its participation to the point where it takes control, Russia will not be against it,”. He then went on to say “we will have to go to other potential partners and investors,”. These are the words which Renault should pay close attention to. (Read More…)