By Andrew Ganz
Thursday, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 8:36 am
 

Renault-Nissan's $750 million controlling investment in Russia's OAO AutoVAZ is set to wrap up next week, Russian sources have revealed.

The deal, which will see Renault-Nissan take a 67 percent share in AutoVAZ, was announced earlier this year but won't actually go into effect for about 14 months from now.

Renault-Nissan will boost its current 26 percent share to 67 percent by buying out Russian investment bank Troika Dialog's stake. Renault-Nissan ally Russian Technologies, a state-owned firm, controls a further 7 percent of AutoVAZ, which effectively gives the French-Japanese alliance a controlling stake.

The expansion of Renault-Nissan's reach isn't likely to change its product portfolio globally, but it gives the automakers a big leg up in the fast-growing Russian market, which is set to expand by about 12 percent to roughly 2.75 million vehicles this year.

AutoVAZ, the country's largest domestic automaker, dates back to communist Russia, when it was formed as a producer of "people's cars" for its highly regemented home market, although its products have long been sold in Western Europe. For a brief period, the company's Lada Niva compact off roader (pictured) was sold in Canada.