Automaker Renault is selling its businesses in Russia. Photo: EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV/TASS
Everything, Renault, is decided: the famous French car manufacturer leaves Russia. From the start of the special operation, this news was in the air, but now all the i’s are dotted. The final wording of the reason is more than polite. No membership in sanctions, no Ukraine. According to Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov, the reason is “the lack of funds to maintain the efficiency or the activities of its divisions in Russia”. Understand as you wish. But there is no longer any question of adhering to the sanctions, which were carried out a month ago, when Renault has just announced that it is stopping work in Russia. The French version of Manturov has not yet been denied.
Such diplomacy may indicate that bridges have not been cut and that the parties are taking a benevolent break in their relationship. Fair. For Renault, we are a buoyant market, a privileged area to extend the influence of our brand. And for us, Renault has become a locomotive, which, over the revolution proclaimed at the factory (official term adopted by the manufacturer), has pulled the national automotive industry on a global level. Not among the chiefs, of course, but among the good middle peasants.
IS THE RUBLE SAVING A PENNY?
In Russia, Renault held shares in two automobile productions.
1. AvtoVAZ (68% of shares)
The company transfers this share to NAMI – the Moscow Central Automobile and Automobile Research Institute. And he hands it over “conditionally for 1 ruble”, as Denis Manturov told reporters. At the same time, the concern was left with the right to redeem in 5-6 years – apparently, also for 1 ruble. “In case colleagues decide to come back,” Manturov clarified.
The remaining 32% is owned by the Russian state company Rostec. Rostec and NAMI will now choose a new head of the automotive company. Now the head of AvtoVAZ officially remains a charismatic Frenchman named Nicolas Maure. At one point he pulled the Romanian Dacia to a good European level, and then he did the same with our AvtoVAZ. But most likely, he will leave his post in the near future – as the media writes, More has already left Russia. As a candidate for a successor, the specialized media nominate the vice-president of AvtoVAZ, Mikhail Ryabov, who previously headed the Lada plant in Izhevsk.
2. CJSC Renault Russia (100% shares)
The second Renault site in our country is located in Moscow, on the Volgogradsky Prospekt. Where once was AZLK (Avtozavod named after Lenin Komsomol), which produced Moskvich cars. For some time this company was called Avtoframos, and now it is CJSC Renault Russia. The French company fully owns this business and is now transferring it to the Moscow government. That is, it turns out that the plant will become the municipal property of the capital.
WHAT WILL BE PRODUCED
Today, the Togliatti headquarters produces Lada models such as Granta, Largus, Niva and X-Ray. In Izhevsk, the Lada-Vesta model is being assembled. Until recently, the Renault Logan and Sandero models were also produced on the Volga. But after the announcement by the company’s management to leave Russia, their production ceased.
– AvtoVAZ and the Izhevsk enterprise will continue to operate, this is unambiguous, automotive expert Igor Morzharetto told Komsomolskaya Pravda. – Because there are models that are not very dependent on imports. Lada Granta, Lada Vesta, both “Niva” – the three-door “Legend” and the five-door “Travel” (the one once called “Chevrolet Niva”) will certainly be produced. They are developed in our country, most components are produced here. And to replace imported ones, they will find an equivalent in other countries or organize production in Russia. The situation with the Largus is more complicated – it is made on the French platform. Most likely, the Lada X-Ray car will no longer be produced, but this did not make much difference in the VAZ product line. Even before the sanctions, there was talk that it was going to be discontinued due to low sales. It is practically a copy of the Renault Sandero StepWay.
Moscow also assembled Renault models such as Duster, Kaptur and Arkana, as well as Nissan Terrano. Their production has been suspended. Whether a reboot will be given is another question. According to Manturov, there are no plans to keep the site, the company will produce other cars.
What is the question. Rumor has it that Lada. Another option is to obtain from Renault the right to produce cars of this brand under license, especially since the level of localization of production is 70%. That is, such a proportion of components for Russian Renault models is produced in our country.
– I don’t think it will work with a license from Renault, the French company is unlikely to agree, – says Morzharetto. – But even if we manage to buy out the license, it is not known what will happen to the components – many of them came from Dacia factories in Romania and from foreign Renault companies. From now on, deliveries are interrupted. It is also doubtful whether cars are produced at the Renault plant in Moscow. Production depends on demand, and demand has fallen due to high prices.
It is therefore possible that the same thing will happen with the old Moskvich as with another metropolitan car giant. So, a residential complex has already been built on the territory of ZIL.
Cars will become easier
Another feature of the modern domestic auto industry is that cars will be produced without such familiar options as ABS (anti-lock braking system) and airbags. This is due to two things – the crisis in the production of microchips (electronics is actively involved in these systems) and the disruption of supply due to sanctions.
– Cars without ABS and airbags are already produced in small quantities and can go into production from June, says Morzharetto. – These cars are allowed to be produced until February next year. There are not many foreign components. It’s “Niva” and “Grant” in the first place. They will be easier, but if cheaper, then not much.
Moreover, Lada, although not completely, but still depends on imports. In Germany, elements of the gas distribution mechanism, thermostats, ignition coils are produced. In the Czech Republic – compress conditioner. In Poland – parts of the braking system. But over time, it is possible to organize the production of these parts and assemblies in Russia. And in addition, they are produced in China and in the countries of Southeast Asia. Therefore, the main problem now is to establish uninterrupted supplies.
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