UAZ may produce an SUV smaller and cheaper than the Patriot. On the official page in social networks, they remembered the existing similar model – “Patriot Sport” and arranged a poll: would such a car be in demand now. Is there any prospects for the “sports” UAZ, Izvestia figured out.
Asked for advice in the comments
The Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant recalled on its VKontakte page the Patriot Sport model ten years ago. Answers to the question “What do you think, such a version would be in demand today?” collected about 300 comments. Some of the subscribers liked the idea. In their opinion, the short version can be in demand in the city and on mountain roads due to better maneuverability. The main disadvantage, both supporters and opponents, considered the design of the car – the shortened Sport looked like a kurguzo. Some even began to paint a three-door in Photoshop on their own – in their opinion, it looks more harmonious without the rear doors.
“Conducting surveys is a normal practice and it doesn’t say anything. You can conduct polls and not make any gestures, “says Za Rulem, editor-in-chief Maxim Kadakov. The columnist for the drom.ru portal Sergey Tsyganov noted that the UAZ press service is actively creating information noise, publishing the fantasies of independent designers about how this or that model of the Russian brand might look.
SUV UAZ Patriot Sport, presented at the Moscow International Motor Show 2010
Photo: TASS / Stanislav Krasilnikov
Are there any plans behind the question of relevance? To the question of the Izvestia correspondent, the UAZ press service answered vaguely: “Time will show.” In theory, the expansion of the model range looks logical. Maxim Kadakov noted that UAZ actively strives to be present even in the smallest niches.
Of all trades
On the basis of the “Profi” family, reanimobiles, school buses, tankers, aerial platforms and even motorhomes are created. In March, the Polutorka truck with a reinforced frame, modernized suspension and dual-slope rear tires was presented. Meanwhile, Profi trucks are not yet as popular as the classic UAZ family. And, naturally, they are inferior to their main competitor – Gazelle.
“Patriot” is sold much better, and this is the only model that is really in demand by private owners, especially after the appearance of the version with a gun. At the same time, it has few modifications – an SUV, an expeditionary version based on it and a pickup. Occasionally, UAZ produces factory special versions like the Antarctic Edition, which differ in details. Now “Patriot” costs more than a million, and rich versions – in the region of 1.4 million. So a more affordable model could be quite in demand.
History of one sport
Of course, UAZ has a well-deserved “Hunter”, but it seems to be completely and irrevocably outdated. The plant even had to certify it as a truck, so as not to be equipped with an airbag without fail. Given the ancient body structure, there will be no benefit from pillows in an accident. “Kozlik” is rapidly losing popularity – for the last two years its sales have not exceeded thousands of copies.
The Patriot Sport presented in 2010 cost 70-90 thousand rubles cheaper than the base car and was supposed to replace the Hunter in the future. The off-roader, shortened by 360 mm, used some body parts, as well as the frame of the earlier Simbir model, which made it possible to save a lot on its creation. They also saved on the anti-lock braking system – “Sport” simply did not have it. In general, it was equipped with simpler equipment than the usual “Patriot”: the interior trim was more modest, there was no additional heater.
Sport was inferior in boot volume. At the same time, the smaller size and weight gave some advantages – such an SUV was more maneuverable, dynamic and passable. In fact, the car that was created in a hurry turned out to be damp. It held a worse straight on the highway than the Patriot, the second row was cramped, and the narrow rear doors were uncomfortable. The bet on a young and active audience did not play, and the production, which began in July 2010, was curtailed by the end of the year. Sales turned out to be less than planned: by the end of 2010, only 1,762 cars were sold and another 708 were sold in 2011.
Where is UAZ going
Does it make sense to go back to the roots? Despite the growth in sales and access to new export markets, including the American one, where the Patriot is to be sold under the name Bremach Taos, the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant found itself in a difficult situation. “Patriot” goes back to the 2005 model and, although it has gone through several upgrades, is gradually becoming obsolete and at the same time increasing in price. The purchase by the Russian Ministry of Defense of Chinese off-road vehicles Haval H9, more comfortable and modern, has become a wake-up call for the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant.
Plans to release a seriously redesigned SUV, known in the media as the Russian Prado, were frozen until better times. And we are no longer talking about the creation of a fundamentally new model by the forces of UAZ. This was confirmed in an interview by the head of UAZ, Adil Shirinov, in an interview with 73online in March.
“Investing money in your own development from scratch is extremely difficult. Today the issue of partnership is more reasonable, ”he said.
The automotive publication drom.ru, based on its own data, suggested that the Japanese Isuzu will act as a partner, and UAZ plans to assemble a new Isuzu D-Max pickup truck and a MU-X soplatform SUV. Moreover, in February a new joint venture “Sollers” and Isuzu was created. There is information that the Chinese BAIC, which supplies components for the Patriot, may become another UAZ partner. Shirinov promised to provide information about a possible partner in May, but this never happened.
“Assembly production requires investment. It is impossible to start assembling something else at the facilities for assembling “UAZ” right tomorrow, “said Maxim Kadakov.
Synergy with KamAZ
The Sollers Group, which includes UAZ, has also had difficult times. At the end of last year, its net debt amounted to 3.1 billion rubles against 614 million rubles a year earlier. Sollers clarified that most of the debt is loans with a subsidized interest rate as part of the program to support the working capital of companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as preferential loans as part of the advanced public procurement program in the automotive industry.
In June, negotiations were resumed on the creation of an alliance between Sollers and KamAZ. The idea of an alliance, announced even before the pandemic, when the shares of both companies were growing, suggested a merger. Now the plan is in the process of being restarted, said Vadim Shvetsov, the owner and head of the board of directors of Sollers. Commenting on the likelihood of a takeover of Sollers by KamAZ, which is in a better position, he hastened to assure that the alliance with is being created on the basis of “joint synergy”.
In addition, significant forces of Sollers-Auto were sent to organize the production of Aurus cars in Yelabuga. In such a situation, UAZ can hardly count on serious investments in updating the model range and launching fundamentally new models. He can look for a temporary solution “in the bins” or continue to create information noise.
“It should be a different car”
Does the short “Patriot” have any chances now, especially since the UAZ audience has shown interest in the car? Maxim Kadakov admitted that the production of such a car is possible if it does not turn out to be expensive at cost and will be sold in a circulation of 1.5-3 thousand. At the same time, he doubts that the shortened Sport will be much cheaper than the usual one. AND indeed, there is no point in releasing the Sport without ABS again. In addition, the presence of ESP and a new design of the front suspension will improve the situation with directional stability. The Simbir’s frame will most likely also require rework for safety reasons. And this is all additional investment in the project.
“It is not clear why we just need a shortened Patriot, if nothing is offered in addition to it. It will be the same motor and the same materiel. Yes, theoretically it has better geometric cross-country ability and dynamics, but dynamics in the case of the Patriot is the tenth thing. Conceptually, it should be a different car. For example, a city SUV with an all-round visibility system and so on. But time is lost – the concept of an urban SUV was intercepted by Lada from Niva Travel, – says Maxim Rakitin, editor-in-chief of the 4 × 4 Club magazine. In his opinion, the time of shortened SUVs is over. At the same time, if UAZ does not expand its model range and does not pay attention to a younger audience, this can lead to a creative crisis, the expert believes.
Photo: TASS / Sergey Bobylev
“If you make a competitor to the short“ Niva ”, then the 11-year-old project raises doubts. The simplest thing is to buy a license for an Indian, Chinese, Latin American car and gradually increase its localization, “said Sergey Burgazliev, an independent consultant for the Automobile and Transport industry.