MOSCOW - Western automakers have been pursuing arrangements with Russian makers as the economy strengthens and Russian plants face their lack of resources. These are the principal ventures under way.
Fiat & AvtoGAZ: A preliminary agreement has been signed between Fiat and AvtoGAZ, the Volga carmaker. The venture, which includes the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, would build several Fiat models at the Volga plant in Nizhny Novgorod. The goal is 150,000 Fiat cars annually with more than 75 percent local content. If final agreements are signed in February 1998, production of the Palio Weekend could start in 2000.
Renault & City of Moscow: Renault has signed a letter of intent with the mayor of Moscow, Juri Louzhkov. A study is now under way for a plant in Moscow. Moscow owns the Moskvich carmaker, but the Renault deal is separate. The Moskvich plant is in very bad shape. The target is 120,000 Renault Megane sedans a year, beginning with kit production in spring.
Opel & AvtoVAZ: Opel and the producer of Lada cars, AvtoVAZ, are in the final stage of negotiations over a greenfield plant for producing Opel cars. The car would use the Vectra platform.
Toyota: Toyota will build 5,000 HiAce vans a year starting in 1999 at the Tushin Machine Building Factory in Moscow from kits.