hris Wright, Knut Moberg and Anthony Lewis
OSCOW - AvtoVaz says the new Lada Calina is the car it needs to succeed in western Europe. But the Russian carmaker says it can't afford to build it.
The Calina, which bears a strong resemblance to the Opel Corsa and is just slightly longer, was shown at the Moscow auto show last week. Vadim Klassen, technical manager at AvtoVaz's development department, said the Calina was developed without any outside help.
Currently only a prototype, Klassen said the car had been engineered for both left- and right-hand drive. He said there are plans for a complete range of cars including three-door, coupe, sedan and even a minivan version.
Engines - all gasoline - range from 1.1- to 1.6-liters.
Klassen added, however, that the Calina may not make it into production for several years because of the economic problems in the country. 'We are not sure we could sell it at a price that would cover manufacturing costs just now,' he said.
However, a joint venture with General Motors - which will eventually produce Astra Classic models at the massive Lada factory at Togliatti - could help launch the production of Calina.
GM spokesman Dmitri Choulga said the agreement would go beyond just producing GM cars.
'We hope to able to help AvtoVaz in many other ways,' he said, 'and the Calina looks a very good car to us.'