Lada, Renault’s Russian brand, will launch new versions of the iconic Niva off-roader starting in 2024 as part of an overhaul that will see its models move to a common Renault-Nissan alliance platform, Renault CEO Luca de Meo said last week.
The new Niva – an overhaul of Lada’s best-known vehicle, which was first introduced in 1977 – will be available in small and compact sizes, with the smaller arriving first and the larger version in 2025.
The brand will also launch two new small cars in 2023, but no more details were provided. Under de Meo, Renault Group will combine the Lada and Dacia brands into a single business unit that will share platforms and development costs.
As the Niva aged without significant updates, Russian buyers turned to alternatives from rivals such as Hyundai and Kia. There were 29,089 sold in Russia last year, compared with 126,112 for Lada’s best-selling model, the Granta small car, which is also Russia’s best-selling car outright, according to figures from the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee.
“The relaunch of the Niva will enable the complete repositioning of Lada as a brand,” de Meo said on Thursday in presenting the group’s “Renaulution” turnaround plan. The availability of the compact-size SUV “doubles the profit pool” Lada can address, he said.
He praised the current car, describing it as a “cult product, the Russian automotive proxy of the Swiss Army knife.”
The new Niva will share the same low-cost version of the alliance’s CMF-B platform that will be used by Dacia as part of the closer business links between the two brands. Dacia introduced three models on the platform last year: the Sandero small hatchback, the Sandero Stepway variant and the Logan small sedan.