Avtovaz reports net loss, new chief promises turnaround

28th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

The leading Russian carmaker Avtovaz reversed into a net loss last year because of a sales slump on the Russian market, the company reported on Friday.

But the new chief executive said he was confident of turning the company round.

Avtovaz, which is being absorbed by the French-Japanese group Renault-Nissan, turned in a net loss of 7.9 billion rubles (161 million euros/$221 million).

That figure was a big switch from a net profit of 29.2 billion rubles in 2012.

The company, which makes Lada vehicles, said that sales revenues fell by 6.8 percent to 177 billion rubles.

Avtovaz president Bo Inge Andersson said that "2013 was not easy for our company".

He said: "Our main goal for 2014 is to make (the) company profitable. For this we will focus on resolving the following tasks: labor productivity increase, product quality improvement, (the) launch of new models and cost reduction".

Andersson, formerly an executive with US auto giant General Motors, took over the top job at Avtovaz at the beginning of this year, and said in January that the company would shed 10.0 percent of its workforce this year, or the equivalent of 7,500 jobs.

The Russian auto market, the second-biggest in Europe after the German market, has boomed in recent years but in 2013 it suddenly turned down and car sales fell by 5.5 percent as the economy slowed.

These sales figures were published by the Association of European Businesses which is considered to produce reliable data on the auto market.

Avtovaz suffered from a fall of 12.1 percent of its vehicle sales in Russian and foreign markets.

In Russia alone, it did far worse than the market trend, reporting a 15.0-percent vehicle sales fall.

Automakers are cautious about the prospects for a recovery of the Russian market this year, counting generally on a rise of 1.6 percent of overall sales.

© 2014 AFP

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