Tag: Russia

By on May 30, 2019

With an unusual combination of Fifties American car styling and Sixties Russian build quality, today’s GAZ-21 has everything the discerning Communist motorist needs.

Let’s talk Volga.

(Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

Image: Ford of Europe

Ford’s troubled Russian joint venture isn’t doing nearly as hot as the Blue Oval automaker would like, so it’s severely paring back its presence in the country.

The memorandum of understanding signed Wednesday kicks off a broad restructuring of the automaker’s business in Russia, with two vehicle assembly plants and an engine plant now slated to close. Ford passenger car assembly will soon be a thing of the past in the Motherland as Ford’s partner, Sollers PJSC, takes a majority stake in the venture. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2019

2018 Ford EcoSport - Image: Ford

The Blue Oval brand stands to seriously pare back its Russian presence, a new report claims, with two of the automaker’s three assembly plants rumored to close. Ford entered into a joint venture in the country in 2011, partnering with Russia’s Sollers. The two recently reached a new agreement, Sollers claims, but details remain scarce.

One person with knowledge of the pact claims Ford will cut its passenger car operations, leaving only its commercial vehicle business. More market share for the resurgent Lada, it seems. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2019

A Russian BMW fan seems to have leaked the new face of the 2019 7 Series on social media over the weekend. While we’d advise any news involving Russia be taken with a grain of salt, it certainly looks like this could be documentation of the sedan’s upcoming facelift. Take special note of the front lip and how closely it matches the 2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept and the brand’s current design language.

BMW has been holding clandestine previews of the updated 7 Series for months, giving credence to the leak. However, the subpar quality of the image and swift disappearance of the Instagram link that published it (before it was picked up by BMW Blog) makes things feel slightly fishy. Still, the original poster appears to be an avid BMW fan/owner/automotive blogger and theoretically could have been to invited to one of BMW’s secret pre-screenings. Though perhaps not next time, considering the probable leak.   (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2018

2018 Ford EcoSport - Image: Ford

Russia, a large country covered mostly in taiga forest and tundra, still loves the Lada 4×4 (née Niva) four decades after its launch, but Ford’s EcoSport isn’t getting the same kind of affection four years after its launch.

Ford’s EcoSport, which burst onto the North American subcompact crossover scene at the beginning of the year, began production at a joint facility in Russia in 2014 but, as that country’s car buying climbs in the wake of a recession, buyers aren’t springing for the EcoSport like they once were. Ford’s throttling back production while claiming regular downtime. Critics blame the model’s price, as well as its diminutive size.

Surely no such critics exist on this side of the Atlantic. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2018

Image: Kalashnikov

You don’t have to be from a former Eastern Bloc country to feel strange pangs of desire for this Russian one-off. Built by Kalashnikov — yes, that Kalashnikov — the CV-1 concept car features an old body concealing an advanced electric powertrain.

The maker of the AK-47, AK-74, and various other automatic small arms apparently wants to stamp out Tesla’s decadent invasion of the Motherland’s fledgling EV market. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2018

Image: Lada

U.S. light vehicle sales sunk slightly in 2017 after years of increases, and this year’s not looking any different. In Russia, however, it’s the opposite situation. After making like the Germans at Stalingrad for the past three years, the Russian car market is now advancing like a T-34 tank — and it has the country’s most famous car brand to thank for it.

Leading the pack is none other than Lada, a company known for cranking out archaic, seemingly indestructible Iron Curtain cars for decades with only minimal changes. That was then, though, and this is now. Spurred by a rebounding economy, sales of new Lada models helped Renault-owned parent company Avtovaz drastically cut its losses in 2017.

Lada’s top brass can give credit to a very Western product strategy. (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2018

2018 Toyota Camry Georgetown Kentucky assembly plant - Image: Toyota

While it’s definitely not the same doom and gloom vibe felt around the domestic auto industry as it was financially circling the drain in 2008, headlines in the new year seem to forecast storm clouds on the horizon.

After nearly a decade of sales growth, the American market for passenger cars and light trucks flattened out in 2017. Actually, sales didn’t just flatten in the U.S., they dropped 1.75 percent for the year. Not only has the overall U.S. market shrunk, we’re seeing predictions of the death of an entire segment of that market, the sedan — a segment that has pretty much defined the American automotive world for a century. It’s one thing for an iconoclastic website like TTAC to be talking about a sedan deathwatch, but when that prediction is on the front page of the Detroit News, with reports that Ford may very well stop building sedans in America and that Buick sedan sales have been cut in half over the past year, people will take notice.

I’m not here to depress you, though. Despite the gloomy cast to things, in reality the automotive industry as a whole is doing very well. (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2017

Image: 1988 Lada Samara

We’ve featured a communist-built car before on Rare Rides; it was an old Czech-made Skoda 120, located in Canada. A specialized importer group brought many cars just like the Skoda into Canada in the 1980s, supplying bare bones Soviet Bloc vehicles to frugal Canadians living in Quebec and some other places.

Today’s Rare Ride was never part of LadaCanada, and lived its life abroad until very recently. Made in Russia, sold in Belgium, and imported to America, it’s a Lada Samara.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

Image: 1991 UAZ 469, image via sellerEarlier this week, we brought you a Rare Ride straight from the Eastern Block. The Skoda 120 was Czechoslovakia’s answer to the middle-market family sedan. Today we keep it Communist and look at Russia’s answer to the decadent and capitalistic Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender, the UAZ-469.

This four-by-four can really do some work.

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2017

2017 Cadillac Escalade

If Cadillac’s top boss, Johan de Nysschen, had his way, The Hunt for Red October would feature a scene in which Capt. Vasili Borodin describes his dream of seeing the United States in an Escalade, not an recreational vehicle.

While General Motors’ luxury division counts on American and Chinese buyers to keep it flush with cash, there’s still room in the fold for other markets. Assuming, of course, those citizens have a willingness to cast off deep-seated consumer habits and, perhaps, prejudices.

After dropping pedestrian vehicles for an all-prestige lineup, GM’s conquest of the Russian luxury market hasn’t yet occurred, though it’s still early days. Sales are looking up. With a new partner in tow, Cadillac feels confident it can muscle out the Germans on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

auto curling

Maybe it’s the cold, the dodgy economy, or lingering memories of decades spent lining up for milk. Whatever the motivation, Russians don’t seem to need the latest and greatest high-tech gadget to help them pass the time. Nope, just grab a few friends, spend a few rubles amassing a collection of ancient hatchbacks, and hit the ice.

The winter of 2017 has brought an inventive new sport to the frozen wastes of the Motherland, and locals can thank a plethora of worthless, Soviet-era crapwagons for the entertainment. Apparently, there are automobiles worth less than stones. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2017

ZIL-4112R Limousine

Do you enjoy luxury? Do you like prestige and exclusivity of the highest order? How about leather, wood, and lighted barware? Well, it’s all available to you today, and you don’t even have to visit Trump Tower.

(Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

kremlin_moscow russia (Wikimedia commons)

Everyone loves a good mystery, and in Russia it seems there are many. Read up on the Dyatlov Pass incident if you’re looking for a reason not to go camping.

In the country where a bearded charlatan once inspired a great disco song, something odd has cropped up in recent months. Moscow motorists, when not surviving serious collisions in subpar vehicles without a scratch, have noticed that their GPS device will suddenly re-position its location when driving near the Kremlin.

The closer to the Kremlin, the more likely the device will suddenly find an alternative location to exist. In every instance, the location is the same: Vnukovo Airport, 20 miles from the seat of government. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE350, Image: © 2016 Steve Lynch/The Truth About Cars

Russia, the country where Shoviet Shub captain Sean Connery learned to fish, might be on the verge of a modest economic rebound.

After tanking hard in the wake of collapsing oil prices, the country’s rickety economic state prompted many automakers to abandon plans for production growth or pull up stakes altogether. General Motors was a noted casualty, though Lada sailed through the turmoil in fine shape.

Early last year, it seemed as if parent Daimler would head west instead of building a Mercedes plant in the Motherland. However, that’s no longer the case, according to the country’s trade and industry minister. (Read More…)

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