Gaz Full keeps things simple to meet the downturn

Truckmaker Gaz has unveiled a new truck in its range. Low cost and simple, the company is depending on it for its future.

The Gaz Full – an anti-crisis truck. It costs $6000, and targets small businesses and farmers. Inexpensive lights, simple seats – it's rugged enough to drive around Russian country roads and farms. The new move by truckmaker Gaz, has drawn plaudits from Nizhny Novgorod Regional Governor, Valery Shantsev whose citizens it will keep in work.

"Gaz's anticrisis measures are considered to be among the best. There was a lot of work done to significantly cut the cost of vehicles, and to reduce the warehouse stocks."

Gaz has already cut its costs by a third. It now plans to free up half of its premises and lease them out. And it has pledged to keep its production staff busy.

The company is planning to cut more than 4000 jobs, but says it will be offering workers additional training – retaining their positions, and paying 60% of their salaries.

But analysts such as Elena Sakhnova at VTB Capital, say Gaz, controlled by Oleg Deripaska, shares its owner's huge debt burden, and the measures will not be enough for the company – which carries a debt of more than $1 billion dollars.

“All these measures, this is good, but definitely will not help to manage a $1 billion dollar debt, which means the Government will need to step in and help the company.”

Experts say GAZ sales dropped more than 60% in the first quarter on 2009. Russia's leading carmaker, Avtovaz, has also seen a 40% slump.

Moscow has pledged over a billion dollars of state support for local car producers and said it will subsidize a portion of interest on car loans.

But measures taken have not yet been enough to keep sales up. In March, the overall number of cars sold in Russia was 47% less than it was just one year ago.