Issue: Sep 2012


GAZ Group's new generation LCV premieres at Moscow International Automobile Salon



New 'GAZelle NEXT' family to extend GAZ brand range for Russian businesses and export markets

by Alan Tran

At the Moscow International Automobile Salon, GAZ Group - part of Basic Element, one of Russia's largest diversified industrial groups, presented its 'GAZelle NEXT' new generation light commercial vehicle for the first time. Featuring handling similar to that of a passenger car, state-of-the-art safety systems, excellent reliability and comfort, as well as the best cost of ownership for this class of vehicle, the new family of trucks is set to be highly appealing for existing and new customers. The GAZelle NEXT will go on sale from March 2013.

Three models of the new family are being showcased at MIAS-2012: A 3.5 t GVW dropside truck with aluminum platform; a 19-seat minibus and a 'Sobol NEXT' prototype (GVW 2.8 t). In time, the new model range will include trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 2.8 to 5 tons. Customers will be offered a choice of various body types, including dropside models with standard or crew cab with two platform types, full metal vans with three or seven seats, buses and more than 100 models of specialty vehicles.

Bo Andersson, President/CEO of GAZ Group, commented: "GAZelle NEXT was designed by GAZ engineers based on an in-depth study of customers' needs and built using modern components from leading international manufactures. Drivers of GAZelle NEXT will appreciate better ergonomics and enhanced reliability, owners will benefit from the vehicle's durability and low cost of ownership, and passengers will value its superior comfort and safety. The NEXT family will broaden the selection of GAZ vehicles to satisfy a wide range of our customers' requirements and will also enable us to increase export opportunities for GAZ".

The 'NEXT' family has been developed using the advanced modern technologies:

* Independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering ensures ride comfort, stability and steering response on par with passenger cars.

* New brake system reduces brake-path length by two meters and enables the use of modern electronic active safety systems.

* New bigger cabin has made it possible to significantly enhance ergonomics and comfort for the driver and passengers. The range of the driver's seat adjustments has been extended; visibility has been improved; noise and vibrations have been reduced.

* The vehicle design makes it possible to install a fully-functional passive safety system, including airbags for the driver and passengers, safety belt pretensioners and other options.

* Galvanized-steel parts in the interior and exterior of the cabin enhance the structure's resistance to corrosion and increase the service life of the vehicle.

* More passenger seats in the new minibuses.

* The vehicle powered by Cummins ISF 2.8 engine conforms to Euro-4 standards, with possible upgrade to Euro-5 and Euro-6.

GAZelle NEXT customers will benefit from enhanced reliability, service intervals increased to 20 thousand km, a best-in-class warranty (3 years or 150 thousand km), and a larger cargo compartment to ensure maximum efficiency in commercial transportations. High functionality, combined with low entry and operating costs, make GAZelle NEXT the optimal choice for professionals operating in the commercial transportation market.

To produce the NEXT family at international quality standards, GAZ Group's Gorky Automobile Plant is building a new paint shop, a new automated welding line, and is assembling test benches and control equipment.

GAZ Group (www.gazgroup.ru<http://www.gazgroup.ru/>) is Russia's largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. The Company produces light- and medium-duty commercial vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, buses, cars, powertrain and automotive components. GAZ Group is the leader in the commercial vehicles market in Russia with about 50% in the LCV segment, 58% in the medium-duty trucks segment, 42% in all-wheel-drive heavy-duty trucks segment, and about 65% in bus segment (data as of 2011). The revenue of GAZ Group in 2011 was RUR 132.4 billion; EBITDA was RUR 14 billion; and net profit was RUR 8.5 billion. The controlling shareholder of the Company is Russian Machines Corporation, part of Basic Element business group. The headquarters of GAZ Group is located in Nizhny Novgorod.

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