Not many cars stay in production for 30 years. One of the few that has, the Lada Riva, was one of the icons of the Soviet auto industry. Now, it is being phased out as the company is being modernized.
Some things stay the same
The list of cars that remain in production for several decades is fairly short, including cars like the Volkswagen Beetle and Golf, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Mustang and F-Series pickup, the Porsche 911 and a small Russian sedan, the Lada Riva, essentially the U.S.S.R.’s answer to the Volkswagen Beetle.
Produced by AvtoVAZ, a car company founded during the Soviet era, the Lada Riva was based on the Fiat 124, a small, economical sedan first launched in 1966, according to the Daily Mail. The model the Riva was based on, the VAZ 2101, began production in 1970, and most of that car was carried over into the Riva, known in Russia as the “Zhiguli.” The most recent model, dubbed the 2107 series, first began production in 1982, according to the Montreal Gazette, and nothing has changed about it since then.
Best selling used car
A joke about the Riva goes that the resale value doubles by filling the gas tank. The Riva can barely manage 100 miles per hour and is known for breaking down as much as anything else, though the mechanical simplicity and ease of repair lends to people being able to keep one running for decades. It’s a people’s car, as it very affordable, listing for 206,000 rubles (about $7,000). More than 20 million have been sold worldwide.
However, sales of new models plummeted by 76 percent in the most recent quarter and AvtoVAZ decided to pull the plug after more than 40 years of selling a Fiat 124-based car. Lada, in recent years, has been selling more modern models.
Next big car market
A 25 percent stake in AvtoVAZ was acquired recently by Nissan-Renault, according to the BBC, and the parent company is looking to punch up the company’s lineup, beginning first with a re-badged Dacia, Renault’s Romania-based budget brand.
Russia is being tipped as the next big thing in terms of the car market and most of the biggest brands are already producing and selling cars there. Fiat, according to Bloomberg, is trying to build a Jeep factory in Russia, as Russia has a strong demand for SUVs. General Motors, according to Inside Line, already produces more than 100,000 cars per year in Russia and is looking to expand to annual sales in Russia of 245,000.