AvtoVAZ, Nissan Seen in Deal

MTA Nissan Pathfinder model on display Thursday at the Moscow auto show.
AvtoVAZ, the country's biggest carmaker, and the Renault-Nissan alliance are planning to assemble Nissan models at a new factory in the Far East, Vedomosti reported Thursday, citing sources in AvtoVAZ.

One possible location for the plant would be at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association, which exports aircraft through Rosoboronexport, a company under the umbrella of state corporation Russian Technologies.

AvtoVAZ is also controlled by Russian Technologies, which is headed by Sergei Chemezov, a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In March, Renault bought a 25 percent stake in AvtoVAZ for about $1 billion in a strategic partnership deal that gave the French carmaker three seats on AvtoVAZ's board of directors and key management posts in the company.

Nissan and Renault have cross-shareholdings and are both managed by the same chief executive, Carlos Ghosn.

A joint plant that produces Nissan cars in the Far East would expand the global partnership and give it an edge in the Far East, from where it could export cars to Asian markets.

AvtoVAZ president Boris Alyoshin said in May that the Tolyatti-based carmaker would consider assembling Nissan cars at the Asia-Avto plant in Kazakhstan. AvtoVAZ expects to purchase the plant by year's end, Alyoshin said Wednesday at a Moscow auto show.

A spokesman for AvtoVAZ declined to comment Thursday.

No one at Nissan's Moscow office was available for comment, and e-mailed questions were not answered.