Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz plans to start production of "higher-segment" cars at the former Nissan plant in St. Petersburg, Avtovaz said in a statement citing company president Maxim Sokolov. The plant will manufacture sedans and crossovers of category C ("golf class") and D (middle class).
"The current challenging circumstances represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for growth. Lada's product portfolio will include higher-segment vehicles, which I am confident will be well received by our customers," Sokolov said.
Avtovaz expects to start production of new cars in the second half of 2023.
"Various models from the C and D segments, including crossovers and sedans, are planned to be produced in stages. Everything required for the assembly will be provided by one or more partners from friendly countries - discussions with them are nearing completion," Avtovaz noted.
Sokolov has previously stated that "these cars will be modern, high-quality vehicles, with high consumer benefits and the strictest safety standards." They will be manufactured under the Lada name "in the segments that would not compete with the products currently manufactured at the Volga Automobile Plant," he said. Sokolov stated that the copmany is nearing the end of its negotiations with potential partners.
The Nissan facility in St. Petersburg first opened its doors in 2009. Its annual production capacity is up to 100,000 automobiles. In 2021, 43,000 vehicles were completed on its assembly line. The plant primarily manufactured Qashqai and X-trail crossovers. The company has suspended operations since March 14 due to interruptions in the supply of components.
It was reported in early December that FSUE NAMI, which operates under the authority of Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry, acquired all of Nissan’s Russian assets. In particular, the transactions included the production and research facilities of the company in St. Petersburg, as well as its sales and marketing center in Moscow. Avtovaz will handle the post-sales servicing of the Japanese-brand vehicles, as well as the supply of components and spare parts. The deal includes an option to buy back the stake of Nissan Manufacturing Rus, which can be exercised within the next six years.