NIZHNY NOVGOROD, April 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod on Tuesday to formally launch serial production of a new family of light commercial vehicles at the GAZ auto plant and discuss support measures for the domestic car industry.
Russian vehicle maker GAZ Group is launching on Tuesday the GAZelle NEXT, a new generation of light commercial vehicles developed by Russian engineers using advanced technologies and made specifically for operation in Russian conditions, according to GAZ’s website.
GAZ Group has invested 5 billion rubles ($160 million) in GAZelle NEXT production. GAZ plans to produce 22,000 GAZelle NEXT vehicles in 2013. The vehicle’s basic model is expected to cost just 700,000 rubles ($22,580).
“GAZelle NEXT customers will benefit from enhanced reliability, service intervals increased to 20,000 km, best-in-class warranty (three years or 150,000 km), and a larger cargo compartment to ensure maximum efficiency in commercial transportation,” according to GAZ’s website.
Sales of new passenger cars and LCVs in Russia in January-March 2013 were flat compared to the same period last year at 616,770 vehicles. Sales dropped by 4 percent in March 2013 on the same month in 2012, according to data of the Association of European Businesses (AEB).
“Intake of new customer orders in the first three months of the year has not caught up with the strong momentum seen in the same period last year," said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee. "One reason for that may be the unusually long winter season. We hope that with the final onset of spring weather, customer activity will increase and contribute to a robust sales result in the second quarter.”