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Lada is a trademark of Russian car manufacturer AvtoVAZ based in Tolyatti, Samara Oblast. It was originally the export brand for models sold under the Zhiguli name in the domestic Soviet market after June 1970.
The original Lada was widely exported in sedan and station-wagon versions, and with over 20 million units sold before production finally ended in mid-2012, it had become the highest-selling automobile to be produced without major design change.
The Lada badge depicts a Viking sailing ship.
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The common Lada sedan/estate, sometimes known as the Classic in the west (VAZ 2104/2105/2107 were known as Signet in Canada, Riva in the UK, and Nova in Germany), was partly based on the 1966 Fiat 124 sedan and became a successful export car. The keys to its success were: competitive price, reliability, simple DIY-friendly mechanics and unpretentious functionality. After 1980 over 15 million Ladas were badged as Rivas (UK) Signet (Canada), Nova (Germany), added to some 5 million made from 1969 to 1979, badged as 2101 (Lada 1200 sedan), 2102 (Lada 1200 estate/wagon), Lada 2103 (quad headlights, more luxurious interior than Lada 1200, known as Lada 1500s in Canada), Lada 2106 (improved Lada 2103, known as Lada 1600 in Canada)totaling over 20 million. The car was built under licence in several other countries.
Exported worldwide in the 1980s and 1990s, Lada was a big foreign currency earner for the hard-pressed Soviet Union and was used in barter arrangements in some countries. Over 60% of production was exported, mainly to western countries (the US was the only large market not to have imported Ladas). The rugged design of the Lada Classic, built with heavier-gauge steel bodywork to cope with extreme Siberian climates, poor roads and few service facilities in many parts of Russia, made heavy usage, such as 300,000 miles (480,000 km) mileage possible. Competitive pricing and ease of service made Ladas common as police cars, taxis and a range of public service and civil defence vehicles in many parts of Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.
In March 2008 Renault purchased a 25% stake in AvtoVAZ in a US$1 billion deal. This was expected to result in new Lada models on existing Russian assembly lines. The remaining 75% of AutoVAZ continued to be owned by the Russian state-owned Rostekhnologia corporation. Lada is now part of the Renault-Nissan-Lada group, the world's third-largest by sales revenue(after Toyota and Volkswagen Group). In spite of a flood of western models into the Russian market in recent years, Lada maintained its dominant market share.
2011 was to be a watershed year for the brand, with production of the classic Fiat 124-based 2105 and 2107 series models being completely moved from the Togliatti plant to the IzhAvto plant near Izhevsk, to make space for the company's forthcoming 2116 model.
- Lada Niva 4x4 (VAZ-2121/2123) - off-road vehicle
- Lada Niva 4x4 3-doors
- Lada Niva 4x4 5-doors
- Lada Samara (VAZ-2113/2114) - economy car
- Lada Samara hatchback 3-doors
- Lada Samara hatchback 5-doors
- Lada Samara sedan (VAZ-2115)
- Lada Priora (VAZ-2170/2171/2172) - compact car
- Lada Priora sedan
- Lada Priora hatchback
- Lada Priora wagon
- Lada Priora coupé
- Lada Kalina 2 - subcompact car
- Lada Kalina wagon
- Lada Kalina hatchback
- Lada Granta - subcompact car developed in collaboration with Renault and based on the Lada Kalina
- Lada Largus - family car based on the Renault Logan MCV
- Lada Riva (aka Lada Classic) (VAZ-2105/2104/2107) - medium-sized family car based on the original Fiat 124 platform
- Lada Classic 2105 - base sedan
- Lada Classic 2104 - wagon version of the 2105
- Lada Classic 2107 - deluxe version identified by the large chromed grille
- Lada Kalina - supermini car
- Lada Kalina sedan
- Lada Kalina wagon
- Lada Kalina hatchback
- Lada Kalina sport
Ladas were first imported into Australia in 1984 with the Niva compact 4WD and in 1988 the Samara three-door hatchback was introduced. The Samara five-door hatchback and four-door sedan later joined the Samara three-door hatch, but under different names—the five-door hatchback was called the Lada Cevaro and the four-door sedan was sold as the Lada Sable. The Lada Niva 4WD was offered as a ute/pickup truck on an extended wheelbase and a two-door soft top.
In 1988 approximately 6,000 Lada Samara's were modified by Peter Brock's Special Vehicles operation that had previously made high performance Holden Commodore's. The cars would be known as the Lada Samara Sedan Brock Delux and included a few subtle Brock-devised suspension tweaks to improve the car's low speed ride. It cost about A$3,000 more than the base model Samara.
While initial sales were promising, reports of poor quality and reliability soon began to take their toll and by 1996 sales had crashed to under 100 units. Ladas were imported into Australia after 1994, but it took two years to sell the remaining stock.
The Lada Niva enjoys a small cult following in Australia; it is the Lada model most often seen on Australian roads.
Ladas arrived in Brazil in 1990, when Brazilian president Fernando Collor lifted the ban on car imports. Lada was the first mark to enter Brazil's car market. Initially, Lada 2105 (sedan) and 2104 (station wagon) models (badged as Lada Laika) and Lada Niva were successful, because of their low prices. Between 1990 and 1992, Lada sold more cars than any other importer to Brazil.
Shortly after the Samara was introduced. The Samara was never successful in Brazil. The Laika models' popularity began to wane after a few years because of perceived poor quality. The cars were widely criticized for their poor design. However, the Niva continued to be strong in the off-road market, even having a limited edition exclusively for Brazil (Niva Pantanal). It continued to be sold until 1997. Many of the last Lada Nivas sold in Brazil had diesel engines. Most of the Nivas sold in Brazil remain operational and used cars command high prices. A 1991 Niva in very good condition can cost as much as R$11,000 or US$5,500, far more than the average price for a car of that year. The normal price for a Lada Niva made in year 1991 or 1992 is about R$6,000 (about US$3,000) in Brazilian used car market. As many as 30,000 Lada cars were sold in Brazil between 1990 and 1997.
LadaCanada started importing in 1979. The first model was the Lada 2106, with a 1500 cc engine. Later, the Lada Niva, a 1.6L 4x4 Lada, did very well, with over 12,000 sold the first year. Lada disappeared from Canada after the 1998 model year, replaced by low-cost South Korean automakers. By the late 2000s decade, many Lada dealerships and Lada products had disappeared.
Lada cars arrived in Costa Rica in the late seventies and became popular in the eighties as one of the few new cars that the middle class could afford. The models included the Niva, 2104 and Samara among others. A few Ladas still circulate.
Lada cars appeared in Cuba in the mid seventies. They became popular in the eighties and by the end of this decade represented more than 30% of the cars used in the country. The Lada 2101 is used by the police and as taxis.
Lada entered Ecuador during the 1970s. Imports stopped in the mid-1990s. During 1999 AvtoVAZ associated with the local factory AYMESA to produce the Lada Niva 4x4 1.7i. In 2000, the first units appeared on the market. This agreement ended in 2004 when imports resumed.
By 2007 other car models were being imported: Lada 110, Lada 111, Lada 112, Lada Kalina (sedan), Lada Niva 2121 (3-doors), Lada Niva 2131 (5-doors) and Lada 2107 nicknamed "Clasico" (Classic).
During 2008 imports of most models decreased, and in some cases, stopped. Only Lada 2121 and Lada 2131 continued to be imported during 2009.
As of 2010, imports had stopped again. However, the importation of spare parts continued.
Few old models, such as the Lada 2101, still function.
Lada cars came to Finland in 1971. Lada became the car for everyman in Finland. It was cheap, reasonably reliable, easy to fix, tune and rig. Ladas were among the popular cars for many years in the 1970s but their share declined. In 2004 Lada was in 26th position. Lada cars are no longer sold in Finland.
An agreement between Jamaica and the USSR in the early 1980s brought Ladas in under a barter arrangement in exchange for bauxite ore. Ladas became popular as taxis, replacing the dated, Morris Oxford.
Ladas were briefly popular in the 1980s. Meat, dairy and fertiliser exports to Russia were wholly or partly paid for with Belarus tractors, Stolichnaya vodka and Lada cars. The New Zealand Dairy Board were distributors for Lada vehicles. Some Ladas, even those of the 1970s, can still be seen on New Zealand roads (especially in rural areas and offshore islands) but are increasingly rare.
AutoVAZ began exporting cars to Portugal in 1986. In April 2002, Lada exited the car market.
The Samara, Riva and Niva were introduced in Singapore for a brief period in the early 1990s. They proved impractical in a country where cars over three years of age must be inspected yearly. The Certificate of Entitlement system, required paying a hefty sum after 10 years to continue driving their cars. Lada quickly left. Few, if any, Lada cars remain on Singapore roads.
"Lada" means barn in Swedish and was imported during the 1970s and 1980s USSR to earn foreign currency. The early classic Lada version of Fiat 124 was featured with Russian dashboard. The Niva jeep developed a cult following for its robust and inexpensive DIY car. Lada Samara sold less. After the USSR collapsed, Asian brands forced Lada to out of the market in the late 1990s. Grey market imports mainly of the Niva continued. Lada Sweden was officially reopened in 2010 by one of the grey market importers. During the 1990s an ad for Samara was prominently displayed for several years at Stockholm Central station.
Trinidad and Tobago
From 1995 until 2001, Lada Riva saloons, estates, Nivas and Samaras found a market in Trinidad and Tobago. Using right hand drive kits from the defunct Lada UK, these were sold as budget transportation. At one time the Riva 1.5 SE saloon was the cheapest new car available. Trinidadian dealer Petrogas Ltd. marketed the Riva as a family runabout and the Niva as a lifestyle 4x4. They retailed for between US$8,000.00-$15,000.00. Rust, reliability issues and increasing competition from grey market Japanese models soon forced Ladas out. The Samara was introduced in 2000 as a last-ditch attempt to salvage the brand. It failed and the last Samaras were sold as unfinished kits in 2003.
Lada entered the Turkish Market in the late 1980s. Most sales were of Samara (100,000 units). Niva made an impact in the 4x4 market. New models like Lada 2110 are still sold in Turkey, with less success.
Both the Riva and Niva are popular among the Egyptian working class. The Riva sedan serves as one of Egypt's most popular taxis and is a fixture in virtually every city.
United Kingdom and Ireland
AvtoVAZ began exporting to the UK and Ireland in 1974 as Lada. The Fiat 124-based vehicles featured outdated technology, poor fuel economy and tank-like handling, but gained popularity thanks to its ruggedness, spacious interior, massive trunk and price. The later Riva version had practical spring-loaded stainless steel bumpers. The Lada particularly appealed to drivers who drove little, making the poor fuel economy less of an issue.
After introduction of the Riva range to the UK in 1983, with UK and Ireland sales peaking in 1988 at 33,000 units (nearly 2% of UK car sales). A memorable advert for the Riva was produced featuring comedy duo Cannon & Ball. AvtoVAZ built up a network of UK and Ireland Lada dealers through its marketing associate, Satra Motors. The Satra-owned dealerships were all sold off in 1987 and 1988.
Lada was a victim of the political and economic problems of Russia in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not possible to invest adequately. By the 1990s the Riva design was decrepit, dating back to 1966. Not even prices starting below £5,000 were enough to disguise its vintage design. By 1994, annual sales of the Lada range had fallen to just over 9,000 - less than a third of the peak figures attained six years earlier.
United Kingdom and Ireland sales dwindled to barely 8,000 units in 1996, the last full year in which Lada cars were marketed. By this stage, many Lada dealers had either gone out of business or switched brands. Confronted with the need to meet 1992 EU emission control requirements, Lada tried to continue to use a carburettor with an exhaust catalyst instead of electronic fuel injection. Three years later at their first emissions MOT test they failed very badly: over-fuelling had destroyed the catalysts. This catastrophe, along with a shortage of certain imported components and increased competition from Daewoo and Proton in the 1990s, led AvtoVAZ to withdraw from most western European markets.
From 1979 Lada produced the Niva four-wheel drive. It had monocoque construction, which was innovative in the 4x4 market where a heavy separate chassis was the norm. It competed well with Japanese rivals such as the Suzuki SJ/Samurai and Daihatsu Fourtrak in practicality and stability and its off-road ability. The Niva was significantly cheaper than its rivals. This was one area where Lada achieved some market success in the 1990s. The Niva was adopted by several British police forces and attracted something of a cult following within the 4x4 enthusiast fraternity. Niva would have benefited from a diesel option, but it was never offered.
The Samara launched in the UK in November 1987.
The decision to withdraw from the UK was announced on 4 July 1997. More than 100,000 of the 350,000 or so Lada cars sold in Britain were still on the road, with more than 1,000 still in stock. Just over 5,000 Lada cars were sold in Britain during 1997. After Lada withdrew in 1997, several dealers continued to import Nivas. These required some local modification of the new General Motors-supplied engines to meet emission control standards. The 2110 was never sold in the UK or Ireland.
After Lada (UK) ceased operations in 1997, the remains of the British network of Lada dealers were serviced by Lada (France). Ladas rapidly disappeared from British roads. They had minimal second-hand value in the UK and a re-export market for Russia moved many UK- and Irish-registered Ladas back to Russia (especially by Russian trawlermen), to be stripped for spare parts or to be sold to Russian buyers. They appreciated the export cars built to better specification than the local version. Many Ladas returned to Russia by ship through Latvia and Lithuania where enterprising mechanics switched the right hand drive to the left side for about USD 500-600 and then shipped them back to Russia for second-hand resale.
Several attempts were made to reintroduce Ladas to the UK. In May 2010, the Niva (a design now more than 30 years old) became available again, through an independent importer. Aimed at the agricultural market, three models are available (all LHD), the 3-door 4-seat hatchback at £10,000, a 2-seat commercial van, £8000 and a 2-door, 4-seat pickup for £12,000. All meet UK Vehicle Certification Agency standards. Engine options are restricted to a 1.7 litre petrol engine, with or without LPG conversion.
In 2008 Lada entered the World Touring Car Championship, raced and developed by Russian Bears Motorsport, although badged as a factory team. The team raced the Lada 110 in the 2008 season, but ran a trio of Lada Prioras in the 2009 WTCC. The team scored their first championship points at Imola with renowned BTCC two-time champion James Thompson. Lada withdrew from the WTCC for the 2010 season, but returned in 2012, with TMS Sport entering a Lada Granta WTCC for Thompson in two rounds. The team expanded for 2013, with two cars being run for Thompson and Alexey Dudukalo.
In 1981, Guy Moerenhout Racing made two special models for Lada Belgium :
- Lada 21011 RS Sport, model with 2 Weber carburetors and special sport equipment
- Lada Niva Dream, Big wing extension,special colors and big wheels
Lada sponsored Aldershot Football Club of the English Football League for two seasons leading up their bankruptcy in 1992. Lada also sponsored Colo Colo (Chile) during their championship season in 1991.
Lada Riva 1500 Estate, Evesham
1993 Lada Riva 1500 Estate Evesham
Lada Kalina Sedan
2003 Lada Revolution concept car
- Automobile model numbering system in USSR and Russia
- List of automobile manufacturers
- Lada class submarine
- "Fortune 500" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17929039/"Renault Takes Stake In Lada" in The Auto Writer, May 3, 2012]. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- "The cheapest Russian car was removed from production". Autostat. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- Knapman, Chris (18 Apr 2012). "Lada 2107 production ceases after more than 40 years Production of the Lada 2107, better known in the UK as the Lada Riva, will end next week after more than 40 years.". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 25 April 2012. "Lada continues to produce models including the Kalina, Priora and Granta."
- BBC News item (retrieved 22 September 2012)
- Champions Brock Experience - 1988 Lada Samara Sedan Brock Delux
- "ECUADOR FIRMA CONVENIO PARA ENSAMBLAR AUTOMOVILES LADA". Diario Hoy, Ecuador. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Aymesa cierra temporalmente". Diario Hoy, Ecuador. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Lada Suomi". Delta.fi. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- "Valmet Automotive Inc. - Samara". Valmet-automotive.com. 2006-03-20. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Jamaica Economy External Trade - Flags, Maps, Economy, Section, Economy, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System". Photius.com. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- New Zealand and the Soviet Union, 1950-1991: A Brittle Relationship, April 1, 2005. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Name * (1995-02-13). "1994 Registrations By Manufacturer". Motor Trader Magazine. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- Peter Rogers. "Lada Owners Club of GB UK Lada history". Lada-owners-club.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- David Cousins (2010-07-16). "Farmers Weekly". Fwi.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lada|
- Lada corporate website (in Russian)
|Lada, a brand of AvtoVAZ, car timeline, 1970–present|
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