New Lada boss pledges gains de­spite strug­gling auto in­dus­try

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

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. –

Photo: AFP

New Av­to­VAZ CEO Ni­co­las Maure is con­fi­dent he can take the Lada maker into the black again by 2018.

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