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Russian UAZ Conquers Off-Roads of Asia

© Photo : uaz.ruInternational Motor Show 2016 (VIMS 2016)
International Motor Show 2016 (VIMS 2016) - Sputnik International
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The Vietnam International Motor Show 2016 (VIMS 2016) held in Ho Chi Minh City in the end of October became the largest motor show in Vietnam’s history, according to its organizers. Russia's leading manufacturer of passenger cars and commercial wheel-drive vehicles, Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant (UAZ) was one of its participants.

Today UAZ is a part of Russian auto group SOLLERS. UAZ factory production capacity is 105 thousand cars a year. UAZ produces off-road vehicles such as army jeeps, low-tonnage wheel-drive trucks and minibuses which are well-known all around the world including in Asian countries. Once they were even exported to Japan.

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However, contemporary UAZ vehicles differ significantly from their soviet “predecessors” which were fully utilitarian. At the motor show in Vietnam UAZ passenger cars attracted the attention of many visitors. UAZ took preorders and now will start shipping cars to its Vietnamese partner, car dealer group AUTO-K.

Not all Asian countries have perfect roads, so UAZ regards the markets of this region as quite perspective, UAZ’s Export Director Andrey Dorofeev told Sputnik Vietnam.

“It was the first time when our plant took part in a commercial motor show in Vietnam. Previously, we supplied car mostly for Vietnam’s security agencies and military. Now we have made a step to come into the free commercial market of the country,” Dorofeev said.

He said that UAZ presented three cars at VIMS 2016: the highly modernized utilitarian off-roader UAZ Hunter, the passenger off-roader UAZ Patriot luxury model, and commercial all-wheel drive UAZ Pick-Up.

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“Interest in our production was high. Our Vietnamese partner, AUTO-K Company took preorders. The buyers are different businesses which need off-road vehicles and individuals who often drive off road,” Dorofeev said.

Today UAZ is considering the issue of restarting car assembly in Vietnam. Dorofeev said that local assembly will allow UAZ to gain certain benefits under the import-export operations and promote wider access to Vietnamese market.

“Vietnam is a new growing market which is not yet saturated with new products. Currently, the country is implementing a program of improving environmental standards. That’s why it’s car fleet will be renewed in the next few years, and it gives us a chance to promote our sales in this market,” Dorofeev explained.

He specified that Vietnam is not UAZ’s largest Asian market. According to him, China is number one in Asia as well as in the world. For now, the plant is certified and supplies to China its UAZ Hunter. Currently the plant is exploring the possibilities of certification and further distribution of two new vehicles: the luxury passenger off-roader UAZ Patriot and the more utilitarian off-road van UAZ Pick-Up.

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“It is difficult to speak about the sale now, but it is a fact that China has opened its market to our cars, despite the rapid growth of its own industries,” Dorofeev said.

Talking about other Asian countries, he mentioned that UAZ also supplies cars to Laos and Cambodia, but the markets of these countries, as well as of Myanmar, are inferior to China or Vietnam.

“There is a new market which interests us now. It is the Philippines. But we need time to study it and find partners there,” Dorofeev told Sputnik.

He said that the plant is now working on right-hand drive modifications of its vehicles to supply them to such Asian countries as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

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