Lada is returning to Cuba, making it the first time since the Russian automaker stopped exporting cars there in 2005.
The return will be launched with an initial shipment of 344 Vesta sedans and Largus wagons, which will be used as local state-owned taxis, tourism and rentals.
The cars will be shipped to Cuba in the coming days and are expected to arrive in the country in January 2018. Since Renault-Nissan took over AvtoVAZ, which owns Lada, the plan for the Russian brand was to increase its exports from 20,000 vehicles in 2016 to almost 200,000 vehicles by 2026.
Sales of cars in Cuba are strictly controlled by the local government and prices remain out of reach for the vast majority of Cubans. The car ownership rate is just 20 per 1,000 residents.
“Cuba, among other Latin American countries, is one of our priority export markets”, said Nicolas Maure, CEO of AvtoVAZ. “This country respects the Lada brand with a significant fleet of classic Ladas and Nivas still on the roads, and today we are ready to renew our presence with our new modern cars Lada Vesta and Lada Largus Cross. They are perfectly adapted to local usage, meeting world-class quality standards and we will provide the necessary aftersales training and spare parts availability.”