The maker of the iconic Lada has launched a snazzy sporty model called the Lada Vesta.
This is the third high profile model Avtovaz has developed and the first it has launched since Renault and Nissan became shareholders in the company. The other two models are the 4x4 SUV Niva and the Kalina, which are best sellers.
"This car is for those who are striving for a constant drive in both life and on the road and are looking for a car with a sporting character," the company said in a press release.
Externally the Lada Vesta Sport is similar to the Vesta Sport Concept car that was previewed at the Moscow International Auto Show in 2016.
The car has a solid front bumper with chrome chevron inserts and spoilers to improve its road grip. It has 17-inch wheels with a low-profile rubber body, aerodynamic lining on the sides and it sits lower than the concept version.
According to the director of Avtovaz’s design centre Steve Mattina, "the design of Lada Vesta Sport is a kind of energy shell that absorbs both passion and adrenaline at the same time."
After years of losses the company returned to profit at the start of this year for the first time since 2012, posting an IFRS net profit of RUB609mn ($10mn) in the first quarter of 2018, reversing the RUB2.8bn loss for the same quarter of 2017 and posting the first net quarterly net profit since 2012.
The crisis of the last few years has been a boon as it has returned the company a dominant market share as Russians have traded down en masse from the more expensive foreign brands to the cheaper domestic ones. Car sales have been recovering for more than a year now and were up 10.8% y/y in June.
"Together with its shareholders Renault (#4 in June and 1H18) and Nissan (#7 in June and 1H18) it [Avtovaz] accounted for 34% of the market in June and 1H18," VTB Capital estimated on June 5. KIA was the second biggest group, with a 13% market share in both periods, followed by VW (the VW, Audi and Skoda brands) and Hyundai (Hyundai and Genesis).