By on August 28, 2010

Nearly every manufacturer out there is making a cheap car for the emerging markets. Renault has the Logan, Toyota has the Etios, Tata has the Nano and Ford has the Figo. The reasoning is pretty clear. In order to grow in these markets, you need to offer something that provides a painless upgrade path from a motorcycle to something with four wheels and a roof over your head. When makers like Renault, Ford and Toyota make an offering of this nature, you get the impression that there will be a certain level of quality in the car. Maybe not up to the level more mature markets are used to, but the standards will be high. That comes with a price. Now what if I told you that a certain car maker who is globally known for producing piles of cheap junk is making their own cheap car for emerging markets? What level of quality do you think that cheap car will have?

The Economic Times of India reports that Avtovaz (the makers of Lada) will launch a cheap version of a Lada car. Let that sink in for a second. A CHEAPER version of a Lada. Lada, a brand not exactly known for high quality vehicles. The car will sell for $7,150 and will be called the Lada Granta. It will be similar to the Renault Twingo, not that Renault will care. They’ve actually expressed an interest in buying the Granta, if it is a success, and sell it outside of Russia: Renault owns 25 percent of Avtovaz. Renault said the model is primarily destined for the Russian market but the firm “could consider negotiating” to sell it elsewhere.

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17 Comments on “Russia To Build Cheaper Than Cheap Car...”

  • avatar

    Oh oh!

    I can see Renault bringing this car to Brazil. You see, we already get the Logan and the Ford Fiesta/Figo, but they are just as expensive as the other cars. They didn’t undercut the market in any way.

    So if Renault adds up 2 and 2 and decides the car can come to Brazil for under Logan prices, they just might do that. And Renault then will have the honor of offering two Eastern Europe products in Brazil carrying (ruining?) their glorious name: the Dacia/Renault Logan and the Lada/Renault El Cheapo!

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo, take a careful look at the window frames of your/our new (LOL) Fiesta and the Figo/previous gen Euro Fiesta.

      They’re different. Along with many other details.

      Maybe the one we get here is a “brazilian” job.

      By the way, the Colombians are getting the proper new Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar

      Here in Brazil Ford is in a bit of a connundrm. You see they redesigned the old Fiesta a couple of months back and are calling it the Novo Fiesta. And in that car they took some design elements from the Figo. Now they did launch the new/new Fiesta in sedan guise. So guess how they’re calling it? The NEW Fiesta. In English.LOL! Incredible! Guess the price? R$49 900. For basic model! When I tell people have the new Fiesta out, they get excited. When I tell them the price, they turn their face in shame.

      As to the now old Novo Fiesta, I think it has more than a shared component with the Fifo. I’ve read somewhere the Figo is bigger though.

      And in response to an earlier post of yours. yes it does have a letter we have but you don’t.

  • avatar

    Russia already produces a “cheaper than cheap car”. The VAZ-1111 “Oka” is powered by a two (2) cylinder (750cc) or three (3) cylinder (1000cc) engine and probably sells for around half the price of this Lada Granta. The design of the Oka dates from the late 1980’s. It could be considered the spiritual predecessor of uber-cheap, mini-utility cars like the Nano.

    I saw a few older Oka’s when I was in Russia a few years ago. My sense is that it was not nearly as popular as the much larger VAZ-210X series (Riva, Signet, etc…) or the VAZ-2108 (Samara). In fact, in Moscow and St. Petersburg I saw more Bentley Continental GT’s than Oka’s!

    • 0 avatar

      I thought Oka was not made anymore. Russians are not that poor, and it was largely a cult car. I heard Oka was pretty decently made by Russian standards, but it just was too damn small. Remember the old square Fiesta (or maybe Festiva — you know one of those names)? Oka looked just like that only smaller.

    • 0 avatar

      Pete, I think you are correct that the Oka is no longer produced. I did some checking and it seems that production of this car ended in November 2008. The Oka did look like a smaller version of the old Ford Festiva (aka Mazda 121 / Kia Pride)

  • avatar

    Cheap? Yes, but I wouldn’t call the Lada junk. The Lada was the AK-47 of cars. Fit and finish was crude, not too many fancy options — actually, no options, fancy or otherwise. The car was solidly built to withstand the gravel/unpaved roads of rural Russia. Mechanically it was simple, cheap and easy to fix. If you lived in a place like rural Russia, you’d appreciate those qualities in a car.

  • avatar

    “The Lada was the AK-47 of cars.”

    I disagree. The RWD Ladas have decent cold-starting capabilities, but otherwise they about as bad than the Fiat they were based on. At 150000 km they are ready for the scrapyard, unless you swap the engine and the transmission.

    The FWD designs, however, especially Lada 110, are horrible, unreliable, constantly breaking down pieces of junk, that should have never been unleashed on the unsuspecting public. Electrical systems fail and require complete replacing, head gaskets blow, cv joints crack, brakes malfunction… the problems are constant. It’s no wonder that even the Russians don’t want Ladas anymore.

    The Niva is also nowadays a complete disaster, getting the car to run for a week without problems is a miracle. The 80’s Nivas are much better for some reason.

    • 0 avatar

      I dunno, I’ve seen (and owned) more than a few reliable FIATs.

      Get rid of the carbs and points ignition – an X1/9 will run for 150K miles. Or more. Maybe you do a clutch. And update the alternator to a Bosch unit.

      Brakes? Rotors were $12. Pads were $20. It was the best stopping car in the world at the time. (Though some mags had a 911 outstopping it by a coupla feet from 70-0.)

      A 128 Brava was a wonderful car if you had your cranium out of your rectum. They’ll do 400K miles easy if you actually do some basic maint.

  • avatar

    I still get chuckles from the stories my wife tells me about a co-worker of hers (she was living in Montreal at the time) who owned a Lada. Absolutely cheap bastard, bought it because it was the cheapest new car her could get at the time. Quality? Compared to that Lada, a Yugo could masquerade as a Toyota Corolla.

  • avatar

    $7150 doesn’t seem all that cheap for a ‘cheap’ car. You’d be better off buying a gently used quality car. I wouldn’t touch a Lada at any price.

  • avatar

    The Etios is an uglified Logan, if such thing was possible.

    But yes, Toyota made it possible.

    And because of that badge, they will uglify the streets of the 3rd world, by the millions. *sigh*

  • avatar

    Is there a relationship between the Russion Oka mentioned here and the Western Australian Oka mentioned here? Just curious. P.S. I am not in Irvine any more – moved back to Sydney.

    • 0 avatar

      Spike, as far as I know there is no relationship between the VAZ-1111 “Oka” and the Australian truck brand OKA. The fact that the names are the same appears to be just a coincidence. The VAZ mini-car is named after the Oka River in Western Russia. The OKA truck company was founded by some Australian mining executives. From what I read OKA assembles its vehicles in Australia using a mix of parts they make themselves and powertrain components sourced from other companies (ex, Perkins, Dana, Cummins, Allison, etc…).

    • 0 avatar

      Nice Aussie link. Thanks.

  • avatar

    That shouldn’t be too hard. The old Lada 1200 was a rebadged Fiat 124. A cheaper-that-cheap Twingo-like Lada could be based on the Fiat 127, which also served as the basis of the Yugo 45.

    This also means that not only will the car be cheap, spare parts will be plenty and cheap too.

    If rust isn’t a problem in the “emerging markets”, they could have a new model in the street next week.

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