Lada is a marque of car manufactured by 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 ended in mid-2012, it had become the highest-selling automobile to be produced without a major design change.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Models
- 3 Experimental models
- 4 Countries
- 5 Motorsport
- 6 Sponsorship
- 7 Image gallery
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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The common Lada sedan and 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 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 badged as Rivas (UK), Signets (Canada), and Novas (Germany), added to some five million made from 1970 to 1979, badged as the 2101 (Lada 1200 sedan), 2102 (Lada 1200 estate), Lada 2103 (quad headlights, more luxurious interior than the Lada 1200, known as Lada 1500s in Canada), Lada 2106 (improved Lada 2103, known as the Lada 1600 in Canada) totaling over 20 million. The car was built under licence in several other countries.
In 1974, VAZ was given permission to begin producing Wankel engines under licence from NSU. Work began in 1976, with a single-rotor Lada appearing in 1978; the first 250 of these went on sale in the summer of 1980. The model range expanded in 1984 with the introduction of the front wheel drive generation of Lada Samara (Lada 2108 a 3-door hatchback, Lada 2109 a 5-door hatchback and Lada 21099 a standard sedan).
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. For example Coca-cola traded its drinks in exchange for Lada cars which were then shipped to the United Kingdom and sold. 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 AvtoVAZ continued to be owned by the Russian state-owned Rostekhnologia Corporation. On 12 December 2012, the Renault–Nissan Alliance formed a joint venture with Rostekhnologia (Alliance Rostec Auto BV) with the aim of becoming the long-term controlling shareholder of AvtoVAZ. The takeover was completed in June 2014, and the two companies of the Renault-Nissan Alliance took a combined 67.1% stake of Alliance Rostec, which in turn acquired a 74.5% of AvtoVAZ, thereby giving Renault and Nissan indirect control over the Russian manufacturer. Lada is now part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the world's fourth-largest automobile manufacturer by sales revenue (after Toyota, Volkswagen Group and General Motors). In spite of a flood of Western models into the Russian market in recent years, Lada has 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 2016 model.
In April 2012, AvtoVAZ confirmed the end of the model 2107 (Lada Riva or Lada Nova), after more than forty years. Production of the rest of the Lada model lineup which included the Kalina, Priora and Granta continued.
- Lada Niva 4x4 (VAZ-2121/2123) - off-road vehicle
- Lada Niva 4x4 3-doors
- Lada Niva 4x4 5-doors
- Lada Riva (aka Lada Classic) (VAZ-2105/2104/2107) - medium-sized family car based on the original Fiat 124
- 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 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 Granta liftback
- Lada Largus - family car based on the Dacia Logan MCV
- Lada 1200/1300 - VAZ-2101 sold in the West from the 1970s (e.g. 1974 for the UK)
- Lada 1500 - VAZ-2103 sold into Western markets from the mid 1970s
- Lada Samara (VAZ-2108/2109/21099)
- Lada Samara hatchback 3-doors (VAZ-2108)
- Lada Samara hatchback 5-doors (Vaz-2109)
- Lada Samara sedan (VAZ-2115) (Vaz-21099)
- Lada 110 (VAZ-2110/2111/2112) - compact car (Bogdan continues to produce this car as the Bogdan 2110/2111/2112 for the Ukrainian market)
- Lada 110 sedan
- Lada 111 wagon
- Lada 112 hatchback
- Lada Kalina - supermini car
- Lada Kalina sedan
- Lada Kalina wagon
- Lada Kalina hatchback
- Lada Kalina sport
- Lada Samara 2 (VAZ-2113/2114) - economy car
- Lada Samara hatchback 3-doors
- Lada Samara hatchback 5-doors
- Lada Samara sedan (VAZ-2115)
Besides the CIS countries, such as Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan, Lada is currently represented in Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland. In most of these, the models marketed are mainly the Niva, the Kalina and the Priora, with some also receiving the Granta and the Largus.
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 "Cevaro" and the four-door sedan was sold as the "Sable". The Lada Niva 4WD was offered as a pickup truck on an extended wheelbase and with a two-door soft top.
In 1988, approximately 6,000 Lada Samaras were modified by Peter Brock's special vehicles operation that had previously made high performance Holden Commodores. 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 for the Samaras 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 car maker to enter the Brazilian car market as an official importer, grey importers having already brought in other brands soon after the importation re-opening. Initially, the Lada 2105 (sedan) and 2104 (station wagon) models (badged as the "Lada Laika") and the "Lada Niva" were successful, mostly among taxi drivers, because of their low prices and functionality. Between 1990 and 1992, Lada sold more cars than any other importer to Brazil. Following their arrival, Lada cars were regarded by consumers and local specialized media, as outdated and inefficient but their commercial success was due to the Lada's publicity campaign which gave their cars an image of imported vehicle affordable for almost everyone, combined with consumer curiosity for imported products, a novelty at the time.
Shortly thereafter the Samara was introduced, but did not enjoy the same success. The Laika model's popularity began to wane after a few years. The cars were widely criticized for their poor design, handling and performance. 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 around R$6,000 or US$3,000 on the Brazilian used car market. As many as 30,000 Lada cars were sold in Brazil between 1990 and 1997.
Despite the Lada Niva having a considerable fanbase among Brazilian off-road enthusiasts, both the Lada Laika and the Lada Samara were never well-accepted in the Brazilian used car market since Lada's importation shutdown in 1997, mostly due to the issues reported above, but also due to the lack of spare parts and dealer support. Most of the Samaras were already dismantled or are abandoned, no longer running. It is not unusual to see those remaining exemplars being given for free or sold for very cheap prices. The few remaining Laikas, Nivas, and Samaras in Brazil, are using adapted spare parts from other models and makers.
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. In the mid-1990s Lada were selling around 12,000 cars per year in Canada. 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.
Ladas had been sold in Chile for some time when a catalytic converter requirement was gradually introduced there beginning in 1987. Lada used a Swiss manufacturer of emissions equipment and sold cars thus equipped for a few years. It was later shown that the equipment did not meet the requirement, but Chile did not have the requisite technology to verify manufacturer claims on their own. Lada ended up withdrawing from Chilean market before the end of the nineties.
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. A few Ladas still circulate.
Lada cars appeared in Cuba in the mid 1970s. They became popular in the '80s 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. In 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: the Lada 110, Lada 111, Lada 112, Lada Kalina (sedan), Lada Niva 2121 (3-doors), Lada Niva 2131 (5-doors) and the Lada 2107 nicknamed "Clasico" (Classic).
During 2008 imports of most models decreased or, in some cases, stopped. Only the Niva 2121 and Niva 2131 continued to be imported in 2009.
As of 2010, imports 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 the 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 New Zealand 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.
AvtoVAZ 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 drivers 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 to Sweden during the 1970s and 1980s for the USSR (Soviet Union) to earn foreign currency. The early classic Lada version of the Fiat 124 was featured with Russian dashboard. The Niva SUV developed a cult following for its robust and inexpensive DIY features. The 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 Samaras (100,000 units). The 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 States of America
Ladas were never sold in the US due to an embargo against the USSR because of the Cold War. After the collapse of the USSR, some enthusiasts have brought Lada (VAZ) cars into the US as a hobby. There are a few VAZ 2101s, a few Nivas, one or two VAZ 2107s, and one VAZ 21033.
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 boot, 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 archaic, 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 either went out of business or switched brands. Confronted with the need to meet 1992 EU emission control requirements, Lada tried to continue to use a carburator 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 failure, 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.
In 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 with 4x4 enthusiasts. The Niva could have benefited from a diesel option, but it was never offered.
The Samara was 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 versions. 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 three-door four-seat hatchback at £10,000, a two-seat commercial van, £8000 and a two-door, four-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 added a second car for the 2013 season, driven by Alexey Dudukalo, and achieved their best result to date, finishing fifth in their home race in Russia.
The team returned for the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, again fielding a Granta, and announced that an all new car was being developed for 2015.
In 1981, Guy Moerenhout Racing made two special models for Lada Belgium :
- Lada 21011 RS Sport, model with two Weber carburetors and special sport equipment
- Lada Niva Dream, big wing extension, special colours and larger 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
1993 Lada Riva 1500 estate
Lada Kalina sedan
2003 Lada Revolution concept car
Lada 1200, family-car for over 35 years in Hungary
Ladas form the majority of the taxi fleet in Alexandria, Egypt
- Automobile model numbering system in USSR and Russia
- List of automobile manufacturers
- Lada class submarine
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Lada continues to produce models including the Kalina, Priora and Granta.
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|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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