Lada reveals their new car – the Lada Granta, based on the Kalina hatchback – which could see Lada return to the UK.
For those old enough to remember, Lada was once renowned as the maker of skips on wheels, in such illustrious company as Skoda, Yugo and Moskvitch. Yugo has bitten the dust, as has Moskvich, and Skoda has re-invented itself under VW as a credible player.
Now perhaps it’s time for Lada to have its own revival, with the launch of the first new Lada in quite a while. Or at least that’s probably the hope of Lada owners AvtoVAZ, especially with Renault now on board as 25 per cent shareholders. Could Lada become the new Dacia? That’s probably the plan.
The Lada Granta may be a new model, but its based on the existing Lada Kalina and not exactly cutting edge. It gets steel wheels and wind-up windows, with a very old 8-valve 1.6 litre four-pot driving the front wheels, although Lada are planning on putting a more modern 16-valve 1.6 litre under the bonnet at some point.
Actually, although Lada no longer sells cars officially in the UK, you can still grab their tough little off-roader – the now 30 year old Niva 4×4 – through UK independent importers Niva Imports. Still pretty much a Fiat under the skin, the Niva 4×4 is a robust little workhorse that can be grabbed for around £11k.
With its very English name (Granta is synonymous with Cambridge and is the old name for the River Cam), we could well see Lada return to the UK officially for the first time in fifteen years, especially with prices likely to start from around £7k.
An interesting footnote – in case you don’t think Lada are serious about a return to the West – is that Lada are sponsors of the Renault F1 team and of Dams GP2. Which no doubt has much to do with Renault’s stake in Lada, but is also about raising Lada’s credibility in Western Europe.