Russian car market welcomes new GAZelle Business in Nizhniy Novgorod

While other Russian carmakers have been plagued by problems during the financial crisis, GAZ has unveiled a new commercial van – the GAZelle Business.

Russia’s car market was one of the fastest growing ones, even surpassing Germany as Europe’s largest at one point. However, ever since the crisis began, the Russian Automotive industry has been reeling, with sales dropping by almost 50% in 2009.

Whilst many car manufacturers were struggling in the crisis and looking for government help, others were quietly reforming their strategy and product portfolio. One of the examples is Gaz Group, which is doing things its own way. The group is combining local and international components to create cost effective solutions for its consumers, such as the GAZelle Business, which was brought into serial production in Nizhniy Novgorod yesterday.

Car manufacturers have been scrambling to try to produce cars that are cheaper for the end-user, often neglecting quality and comfort in the process – something GAZ is keen not to replicate. Pavel Zhygalov, Director of quality control at Gaz Group, adds international experience will help.

“The principal differences in our new model are new active and passive safety systems, new brakes and climate control, among other aspects, which were outsourced and designed by international companies like ZF and Bosch.”

The optimism at GAZ is a timely reminder of what can be achieved by Russian carmakers. Future cheap, no-frills models have been promised by the company, and it hopes to increase sales by 13% in 2010.