New Lada boss pledges gains despite struggling auto industry
FOUR months after taking the helm of struggling Russian automobile giant Avtovaz, Renault executive Nicolas Maure has set his sights on returning the Lada maker to profit by 2018.
Mr Maure, who headed Romanian carmaker Dacia for just over two years before taking on his new position, took over Avtovaz, which is majority-owned by the RenaultNissan Alliance, in April amid major losses in the Russian auto industry struggling with recession.
Hit hard by Russia’s economic crisis, Avtovaz earlier this year was battling bankruptcy fears after its net losses almost tripled in 2015.
That year the Russian car market slumped 36 percent amid international sanctions over Ukraine and the crash in oil prices took its toll on the economy.
“I arrived at a trying time,” Mr Maure, 56, told AFP last week on the sidelines of the Moscow International Automobile Salon.
“The market was slumping and I was arriving in a troubled company.”
Mr Maure’s predecessor, Swedish executive Bo Andersson, had been on a drive to improve efficiency at Avtovaz’s Soviet-era facilities and slashed thousands of jobs from the bloated workforce in 2014.
But the measures did not yield any significant financial success, and the company made a loss of 620 million euros (US$680 million) on the French carmaker’s accounts last year.
But an uptick in sales, which grew 4 percent in comparison to the same period last year, and its growing market share has made Mr Maure upbeat about Avtovaz’s prospects.
“The situation is more favourable than when I arrived, with steady demand,” he said. –
New AvtoVAZ CEO Nicolas Maure is confident he can take the Lada maker into the black again by 2018.