Russia is full of challenges - but genuine opportunity too

Russia is full of challenges - but genuine opportunity too

Last week Simon Warburton visited the Moscow Motor Show with Renault Russia and had the opportunity to talk with senior executives, as well as travel to alliance partner, AvtoVAZ, at its Togliatti plant in Samara. Here are some of the quotes from that trip.

"I am an open-minded guy. My first act here was not how to develop the automotive industry, but I want [ed] to sieze immediately the culture of the country, to understand the mind-set of the people" - Renault Russia general director Bruno Ancelin.

"When Mr Andersson came to work as president of AvtoVAZ, we were a little bit concerned how that would affect our situation here" - AvtoVAZ Trade Union president Alexander Zaitsev.

"I have no patience" - AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Andersson

"Today, you can't find enough European fruit. And no more cheese from France, which is a pity for me. But I bought some Russian cheese, which is excellent" - Renault Russia general director, Bruno Ancelin.

"I expect cost transparency - some of them give it to me - some of them don't" - AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Andersson.

"This what I think the government wanted to hint. Like the Spanish inquisition when they said 'show him the [torture] instruments'" - Association of European Businesses automotive chairman Joerg Schreiber on possibility of auto sanctions.

"The SUV market in Russia is now roughly 37% and it is growing each year around 2%, 3%, 4%. You could say it could be more than 50% in the mid term" - Renault Russia VP sales and marketing Fabrice Cambolive.

"We build vehicles for working class people - I am proud of that" - AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Andersson.

"The headcount reduction is in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation" - AvtoVAZ VP human resources and social policy Dmitry Mikhalenko at the manufacturer's plant in Togliatti.

"There are many markets where people don't have a real opinion of Nissan and this [Champions League sponsorship] will help us be more consistent. People say it is expensive, but in reality, it very [quickly] pays for itself" - Nissan VP marketing Europe, Bastien Schupp.

"We need to have two, three, four suppliers who are bidding. Currently, that is not the case" - AvtoVAZ CFO Evgeny Belinin

"We are using the railway a lot here - it is slow but very very reliable. We use the Trans-Siberian railway. Live here for a winter - I took maybe 400 flights here and I was never delayed by more than 30min [and] last winter was awful." Renault Russia general director Bruno Ancelin.

"This year we must - we will - break even - that will be sustainable" - AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Andersson.

"I would be surprised if there would be counter sanctions against the auto industry" - Renault Russia general director Bruno Ancelin.

"In 2017 this will be a rather larger business and if we are successful, revenue will be 50% or 100% larger. I would [say] 50% is more realistic. The only way to build that pride in Lada [for example] is to do what you say, second you need products and third people" - AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Andersson.

"I am meeting the Minister [s] of the Economy... and Industry. If you want to speak with them, it is not a big problem, they listen to us. They have experts that are very good. I shook hands four times [with President Vladimir Putin] - Renault Russia general director Bruno Ancelin.