Chevrolet Return to Russia

Inexpensive Chevrolet are returning to the Russian market. In March 2020, deliveries of Spark, Aveo and Cobalt models will begin from Uzbekistan. Until recently, these well-known cars were sold under the Ravon brand, but now they are returned with their own nameplate crosses.

Ravon brand goes down in history, from the CIS markets it will remain only in Ukraine. There, the distribution of Chevrolet, or rather, the only Aveo model, is handled by UkrAvto Corporation, a longtime rival to an Uzbek company.

The usual names will be returned to cars in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan – Ravon R2 will become Chevrolet Spark again, Ravon R4 will turn into Chevrolet Cobalt. Nexia decided not to rename it back to Aveo. Izvestia was unable to obtain more detailed comments from UzAuto Motors at the time of delivery of the material.

In March of this year, it will be five years since the resonant decision of General Motors to limit its presence in the Russian market. The economic situation, caused by international sanctions and the collapse of the ruble, hit the business of the American concern.

The Chevrolet brand was once the most popular foreign brand in Russia, but due to the rapid rise in prices, its popular models have become beyond the reach of customers. In the first two months of 2015, sales of cars of this brand fell by 71%, while German Opel, also controlled by GM, showed a 82% drop.

Calling Russia “a market with an uncertain long-term future,” General Motors froze its plant in St. Petersburg, and stopped assembling cars at GAZ and Avtotor. The Opel brand completely left the Russian market, while the Chevrolet partially left: the popular models Cruze, Aveo, Cobalt, Captiva left, American SUVs, sports cars and the Niva joint off-road vehicle remained.

In October 2015, the GM Uzbekistan plant, which supplied the ancient Nexia and Matiz to the Russian market, decided to radically update its lineup – again at the expense of Chevrolet. Under an agreement with General Motors, the Uzbek company could not supply cars under the Chevrolet nameplate to other markets, so for the CIS countries they came up with a new brand Ravon.

The restyled Chevrolet Lacetti became the Ravon Gentra, the Aveo became the new Nexia, the Cobalt was renamed the R4 hatchback R2 with an automatic, the former Chevrolet Spark replaced the Matiz.

The launch of a new car brand in Russia was accompanied by a scandal. The head of the GM Uzbekistan joint venture, Tohirjon Jalilov, was put under investigation on charges of fraudulent re-export of hatchbacks R2. In 2017, all charges were dropped from him, but the Russian car dealerships belonging to Zhalilov have accumulated millions of debts and are undergoing bankruptcy.

In 2017, the Ravon brand even became a sponsor of the Russian national football team, but the result of the first full year was a modest 15 thousand cars. In 2018, the supply of machines unexpectedly stopped – the reasons were called a revision of the pricing policy due to an increase in recycling rates and the modernization of production facilities.

Since then, the Ravon brand restart has been postponed several times. In August 2019, new, significantly increased price tags were announced and deliveries of vehicles to dealers were about to begin. Two new distributors divided the areas of responsibility: UzAvtotsentr was responsible for the South and Central regions, UzAvtomotors CIS – for the Urals, Volga region and Siberia. There were a hundred and fifty dealers ready to tackle the sale of cars. The hatchback R2 and R4 sedan were planned to be delivered from Uzbekistan, and the Nexia from Kazakhstan, where the SaryarkaAvtoProm plant produced the car.
The plans also included the Russian production of cars at the Circassian plant Derways – UzAuto Motors Managing Director Alexander Sakhapov promised to announce the results of negotiations before the end of the year.

In anticipation of the start, Ravon cars managed to get cheaper, but less than 700 cars were delivered to dealers. In the statistics of the European Business Agency for 2020, not a single Ravona is listed at all.

UzAuto Motors is the new name of GM Uzbekistan, reflecting the changes that have occurred to them. During 2018, the Uzavtosanoat state-owned company bought back all shares of the joint venture from General Motors.

Former partners switched to a new form of cooperation called the GM Uzbekistan Alliance. GM will remain the main technical partner, and UzAuto Motors will gain more independence and will be able to work with other manufacturers.

In the new status, UzAuto Motors was able to agree with GM about the impossible – export deliveries of cars under the Chevrolet brand.

UzAuto Motors will promote and sell cars on its own in the Russian market. GM will assist as a consultant and continue to be responsible for the North American line of Chevrolet and Cadillac.

American and Uzbek cars should not intersect in the same showroom according to GM standards, the Russian representative office of General Motors said. So earlier they sold “Shniva”, now passed under the wing of AvtoVAZ. That is, the official Chevrolet dealer will have to build a separate showroom for Sparks, Nexia and Cobalt. Former Ravon dealer will have to bring their car dealership to Chevrolet standards.

At the same time, buyers of Chevrolet manufactured before 2015, as well as owners of Ravon cars, will be able to service cars at authorized service centers of UzAuto Motors.

The press service of AvtoSpetsTsentr Group of Companies said that they did not plan to become a Chevrolet dealer until they understood the brand policy on the Russian market and the requirements for officials. Low sales of Ravon in Russia indicate that the product has become a niche, according to the company.

 

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Summary

Inexpensive Chevrolet are returning to the Russian market. In March 2020, deliveries of Spark, Aveo and Cobalt models will begin from Uzbekistan. Until recently, these well-known cars were sold under the Ravon brand, but now they are returned with their own nameplate crosses. 

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