By on April 4, 2012

They did not know that TTAC’s man in the cold was surreptitiously snapping pictures with his iPhone. Again-elected Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin simply watched while Renault COO Carlos Tavares defaced the hood of a brand-new car with a Magic Marker. Nissan’s COO Toshiyuki Shiga grinned and did not interfere either. This is how they celebrate the opening of a new car factory, this afternoon in Russia.

$525 million were invested into the new factory in Togliatti. The 350,000 unit per annum complex 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.

Renault bought a 25 percent stake in AVTOVAZ  in 2008. Last year, news appeared that Nissan will take another 25 percent. Our surreptitious picture taker was told that this has not happened yet, and that “the companies are in the final stages of negotiations to increase the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s stake in AVTOVAZ.”

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