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Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ raised exports 7.9% y-o-y in 2007

MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's leading car manufacturer AvtoVAZ exported 106,900 vehicles in 2007, 7.9% more than in 2006, the company's press service said on Friday.

Ukraine was the leading importer of Lada cars produced by the company, buying 49,000, 28% more than in the previous year. It was followed by Kazakhstan, which bought 14,700 cars, representing 26% year-on-year growth, and Uzbekistan, which purchased 6,300 cars, three times the 2006 figure.

AvtoVAZ, headquartered in the Volga city of Togliatti, said in a news release that its soaring exports were largely due to new modifications of the Lada 1118 Kalina and the launch of the Lada Priora in 2007.

Exports to Germany rose 52.6% year-on-year on rising demand for new Lada models, including the Lada 1119 Kalina hatchback, available on the German market since June.

AvtoVAZ's domestic sales reached a record high of 663,500 cars, 6.2% more than in 2006.

The company expects to raise 166 billion rubles ($6.8 billion) in 2007 earnings and is seeking to increase its yearly output to almost 1.3 million cars by 2012.

In 2006, AvtoVAZ earned 2.512 billion rubles ($102 million) of net profit, up 79.4% against 2005, with 152.4 billion rubles ($6.2 billion) in revenue.

Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport and Troika Dialog investment company, which together hold a 75% stake in AvtoVAZ, signed on December 8 a three-way memorandum of understanding with Renault to sign a contract for the sale of a 25% blocking stake in AvtoVAZ to the French auto giant.

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