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2019 Lada Vesta Sport

2019 Lada Vesta Sport

Russia’s Cheap Sedan Became Sporty, sort of

It was in 2016 that I saw the Lada Vesta Sport Concept. It was unveiled at the MIMS show (MIMS Automechanika Moscow). Lada promised us we will see the production version of the car and now, here it is. You are looking at the Lada Vesta Sport - a cheap sedan smartly (and simply) improved to justify the word Sport in its name. Based on top of the compact, cheap sedan that is really popular in Russia, the Vesta Sport features a number of improvements differentiating it from the lesser, more civilized versions of the car.

To paint you the right picture about the Vesta, just imagine it as a “Nissan Versa Sedan of Russia.” In short, a really cheap compact sedan for A to B. The Vesta Sport shouldn’t be only for A to B, though. Here’s why.

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2012 Lada Xray Concept

2012 Lada Xray Concept

Large companies, like GM, seem to have issues keeping new model leakage under control. We are not completely naive, so we do understand that some of these leaks from large automakers are actually orchestrated by the automaker itself to help drum up interest. Still, there is the occasional major leak that some disgruntled design team member decides to plaster all over the Interwebz.

Well, Lada, a Russia-based company much smaller than GM, but a relative success in the Russian market, kept its recently unveiled SUV under such tight lock and key that it took all of us aback when it was debuted at the Moscow Motor Show. The Xray, as Lada has dubbed this concept SUV, is nothing like any other SUV it has ever produced and it looks like something that belongs in a worldwide production model’s lineup. That said, don’t look for this SUV, or any Lada for that matter, to make its way to the U.S.

The styling of this crossover SUV is not something you would expect to see from a budget automaker, like Lada. It does, however, show how Lada’s eyes are on the future, making its cars more stylish and offering up a wider range.

UPDATE 09/06/12: The first official video of the Lada Xray Concept has just gone live. Click on the photo above to check it out!

Click past the jump to read our full review and find out more about the basics of the Lada XRay Concept.

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Russia's Lada expanding, even going communist (again)

Russia’s Lada expanding, even going communist (again)

Lada is making a comeback, but you probably didn’t miss it (or know who it is.) Lada is a Russian auto brand that was exported to most of the world in the 80s and 90s, but not the U.S. for obvious reasons.

Its most successful car, the sedan/wagon usually known as the Riva (pictured right), was successful for being tough and simple, like any good communist should be. A combination of emissions regulations, political disorder and the car’s age (it changed very little from when it was introduced in the late 60s) finally killed the Riva in the 90s. Lada was no longer exporting to Eastern Europe by the late 90s and export numbers dwindled to other major countries.

Since then, the Russian auto market has exploded. It has now replaced Germany as Europe’s largest car market. In March, Renault-Nissan bought a 25 percent stake in Lada’s parent company Avtovaz. Lada is now up to five production models, and the Renault-Nissan-Lada alliance is the world’s third largest automotive company behind Toyota and General Motors.

With this production boom and new corporate backing, Lada is ready to take on the world again (scary?) This week, Lada has announced it will now be exporting to Eastern Europe and beyond. In September Lada plans to send hatchback model of its new Priora hatchback (pictured right) to multiple European countries including Germany. Lada also announced a deal that will have it send 850 more vehicles (600 Prioras and 250 4x4s) to North Korea. These will join the 500 Prioras already in the communist country. Old habits die hard, eh?

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