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RUSSIA: AvtoVAZ axing dealers, building yellow 'Putin' Kalina

By just-auto.com editorial team | 28 September 2010

The Lada Kalina Sport with the Prime Minister Putin preferred option of canary yellow paint

The Lada Kalina Sport with the Prime Minister Putin preferred option of canary yellow paint

AvtoVAZ plans to significantly reduce the number of its dealerships, business daily Vedomosti reported, citing Artyom Fedosov, the automaker's head of sales and marketing.

He said AvtoVAZ plans to reduce its network to about 50 centers in 2011 from 116 centres as of last March. Such centres are expected to account for 15% of total sales compared with 25% before the credit crisis.

AvtoVAZ first plans to terminate dealers burdened with large debts and those which have old sales centres, Fedosov said. The carmaker plans to either sell or liquidate its sales units and will try to keep its own dealership centres in large cities, he added.

AvtoVAZ initially planned to cut the number of its dealership centers to 70 by 2020, but has now decided to accelerate the process, the Prime-Tass news agency said.

Separately, AvtoVAZ has decided to launch small batch production of canary yellow Lada Kalina Sport cars in November, spokesman Igor Burenkov told Vedomosti.

Demand for this car has significantly risen since Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin recently drove it along the Chita–Khabarovsk road in Russia’s far east, Burenkov added.

AvtoVAZ plans to produce 500 units, which have already been ordered by dealers, by the end of the year. It currently builds about 100 in seven other colours each month.

More on Putin's drive here