Renault-Nissan has finalised a long-awaited deal to take control of Russia’s AvtoVAZ – best known for its Lada models.
That builds on a partnership which started four years ago.
The French-Japanese group is looking to win sales from rivals in Russia’s growing middle class car buying market.
Chief executive Carlos Ghosn predicted they would have 40 percent of Russia’s market by 2016, up from 30 percent currently.
Russia’s car market has been growing rapidly, supported by a rise in disposable incomes. The country’s middle class has increased from one million in 1999 to between 15 and 30 million, according to recent research by Sberbank.
Car sales in Russia grew 40 percent last year to more than 2.6 million vehicles, recovering most of the ground lost after halving in the post credit-crunch slump of 2009.
While sales growth has been flattening out, overall sales for the year look set to reach around 2.9 million and Ghosn expects yearly sales to reach four million at some point in the 2020s.