Russian automaker AvtoVAZ is poised to emerge as a major player in the global automotive industry, Chairman Vladimir Kadannikov said Tuesday at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.
AvtoVAZ already has several corporate assets as Russia's largest automaker -- a strong engineering base, modern research and development base, extensive experience in developing component suppliers and a large, established dealer network -- that make it appealing to western automakers looking for access to the Russian marketplace, Kadannikov said.
He said Russia had "the most potential" of several developing world automotive markets and encouraged western automakers and component suppliers to establish strategic alliances with local Russian companies.
"Russia still has outstanding strategic partnership potential with local automotive and components manufacturers," Kadannikov said.
He said the AvtoVAZ joint venture with General Motors was an example of the type of cooperation between Russian and western automotive companies that could meet the needs of Russian consumers for robust, affordable vehicles and speed the development of a Russian auto industry that could be fully competitive with world standards. Production of an all-new sport-utility vehicle designed by AvtoVAZ will begin in September. The vehicle will be sold by General Motors in Russia as the Chevrolet Niva.
Kadannikov encouraged western automakers and suppliers to make a decision on investing in Russia within the next six to 12 months in order to secure the maximum advantage of establishing a niche early and gaining a competitive advantage on later arrivals.
He said: "We would be happy to cooperate with you for the benefit of the Russian consumer."