AvtoVAZ Halts Line For 3 Weeks

AvtoVAZ said Thursday that it would stop its assembly line for almost three weeks this winter in a possible sign that the effects of the financial crisis are catching up with the country's top carmaker.

The Tolyatti-based carmaker will stop its assembly line from Dec. 29 to Jan. 16 to service and modernize its equipment, as well as to prepare for the launch of the new Priora station wagon, the carmaker said in a statement.

But a Tolyatti-based automotive analyst chalked up the management's decisions to the carmaker's recent poor sales.

"The warehouses have been glutted, and sales are slower than one would wish," said Sergei Tselikov, general director at Avtostat analytical agency.

"The crisis has dealt a blow to everyone."

The 19-day vacation will be almost two weeks longer than usual for the carmaker, which will produce around 21,000 fewer cars, according to Tselikov's estimates.

Workers will be paid two-thirds their normal wages during the vacation in accordance with the Labor Code.

Citing unconfirmed reports, Tselikov said workers would not get their year-end bonuses for the first time in several years.

GAZ, the country's second-largest carmaker, said earlier this month that it was temporarily halting production of light commercial vehicles from Oct. 7 to Oct. 10 because of poor financial conditions and a surge in metal prices.