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The French are trying to conquer Russia again
But this time using the Renault Logan. Yesterday, the first car rolled off the conveyor belt at the Avtoframos Works in Moscow, writes Vedomosti. Avtoframos was established in 1998 by the Moscow government and Renault on a parity basis. Renault already owns 76% of the plant's shares, while the company sold 16,126 cars in Russia in 2004. Renault has been preparing for an attack on the Russian market since 2003, when it drafted plans to produce a new model of the B-X90 class at Avtoframos. And in June 2004, the Logan was presented to the public. Renault reconstructed Avtoframos, spending $250 million on re-equipping it for Logan production. For the time being, Logan will be only 20% Russian and 80% Romanian, as Renault will bring in components from the plant where the Logan Dacia is assembled. With the car in the showrooms at between $8,999 and $12,099, Renault has made it as cheap as possible. A very simple model, with a 1.4-liter engine but without power steering or electric windows, will be the cheapest on offer when the Logan goes on sale in the summer. The year 2006 should belong to the French, as Renault director Louis Schweitzer believes the Moscow plant will manufacture 60,000 cars. Renault is also promising to launch a special payment plan for the Logan by that time. Valery Tarakanov, the Rolf group's general manager for strategic marketing, believes the Logan may become a very popular care if the price can be held at the same level for the next three years. Meanwhile, Alfa Bank analyst Maxim Matveyev says the government may help this by finally lifting the duties on car parts meant for industrial assembly
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