The Russian brand Lada, symbol of the former USSR, and the bestselling brand in 2012 in Russia, has big plans about its future models. After decades in which Lada models were regarded by the European markets to be completely outdated, the new chief designer of the company AvtoVAZ (the holder of the Lada brand), promises a complete change and a complete rejuvenation of the range.
The model that Steve Mattin is considering for radical change in the appearance of Lada models is Kia.
“That is now changing and will be clearly seen in the future. There will be an intensive modernization with the introduction of a completely new design language and DNA that will change the image of the brand,” says British Steve Mattin for Automovtie News Europe, who has worked until now at Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The Englishman is in the position of director of design at AvtoVAZ, since 2011. His stated goal it is to transform the existing Lada models into something attractive to the public. Mattin said at Volvo his challenge was to give the Swedish brand a more desirable look. “Here at AvtoVAZ, I have to do the same thing,” he said.
“No one was taking Kia seriously 10 years ago, and now they have success in all segments,” Mattin stated. “They really put a focus on design, making a huge impact by changing their image. That's the sort of step we need to make at AvtoVAZ.”
“That actually gave me more opportunity to make a bigger step,”he continued.
“At some companies you are very restricted due to the strong design heritage. You can only develop the grill so much in each generation. Here at Avtovaz, that is not the case.”
Changing the design, however, does not affect the Russian brand values, one of which is its robustness.
“It's not about the introduction of overcomplicated lines in all different directions that some of brands perhaps have. There is a strong contrast in the seasons between the long cold winter and the really warm summers. There is a contrast in the way the wealth is split up between the countryside and the city, the eastern part of the country and the western part,” he said. “It was some form of contrast I wanted to somehow try capture in the design of the vehicles.”
The first contact with the new design of Lada models can be done through the Lada X-Ray concept, which the Russian brand presented last year in the world premiere at the Moscow Auto Show. The prototype foreshadows a new Lada crossover / SUV, and is scheduled to make an appearance on the market in a series version in 2016.
Steve Mattin has opened a design studio in Moscow where the boss is the Belgian Thomas Bigwood, who coordinates the eight Russian designers working on this project.
Lada sold in Russia 226,000 cars in the first part of the year, down 10 percent compared to the same period in 2012.
Russia is positioned to overtake Germany as the world’s largest car market by 2014, as non-European markets generate more and more deliveries industry wide.