Reference Material on Avtovaz
Avtovaz is Russia's largest car maker, but it was only last year that it produced the first Lada model with an airbag. That is emblematic of the company's behind-the-times nature, even as the domestic market is exploding with a growing middle class clamoring for cars.

Avtovaz is losing market share fast; foreign brands accounted for a third of sales in 2005, up from just 5 percent in 2000.

Avtovaz competes on price only and cannot pass on modernization costs to consumers because of declining sales, analysts say. A new Lada sells for about $6,000. Late last year,
Avtovaz's board was taken over by government officials who want to force a turnaround, Kremlin style, by re-nationalizing the company in a planned state-run automotive holding. ANDREW E. KRAMER (NYT)