Blog: Dave LeggettAvtoVAZ

Dave Leggett | 5 November 2008

When Mark Bursa went to visit AvtoVAZ in Russia, he was bound to get quite a bit out of it. For one thing, he's interested in the history of a manufacturing operation like that beyond just the nuts and bolts of what it produces. He's also interested in the political and economic context of what he finds, different ways of doing things. And that ties in, of course, to the unique political culture and history of a place like Russia. 

The flavour certainly comes across in a piece he has just done for us. He's also interested in all things engineering and that includes aircraft and maritme vessels (spacecraft, too, probably). He must have been like a kid in a sweet shop when he saw some of the stuff outside the AvtoVAZ automotive plant. It's not every day you see a submarine or a whirlybird like that....fortunately, the Coolbear had his camera with him and so can share...

And they are still making the Fiat 124-based 'Zhiguli' (the old three box Lada Riva in Britain). That's quite reassuring in a way. Some things just carry on regardless and that's one of them. It's probably one of the most profitable cars of all time (production costs like tooling amortised a long, long time ago). I don't know why exactly, but that car has always seemed weirdly cool to me, anti-fashion and the more battered the better. There's still a market for them in Russia among those who can't stretch financially to a Western brand or one of the newer AvtoVAZ models. And the good thing about the 'Zhiguli' is that it's easy to take to a local workshop to get fixed cheaply when it goes wrong.   

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