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Avtovaz reports net loss, new chief promises turnaround

The leading Russian carmaker Avtovaz reversed into a net loss last year because of a sales slump on the Russian market, the company reported on Friday. But the new chief executive said he was confident of turning the company round. Avtovaz, which is being absorbed by the French-Japanese group Renault-Nissan, turned in a net loss of 7.9 billion rubles (161 million euros/$221 million). That figure was a big switch from a net profit of 29.2 billion rubles in 2012.

Top Russia carmaker to fire 11% of workforce

Avtovaz, Russia's largest but struggling carmaker, said on Thursday it planned to fire 7,500 workers, or 11 percent of its workforce, as it tries to cut costs and return to profit. The carmaker, which is set to be controlled by the French-Japanese carmaker Renault-Nissan by mid-2014, now employs 66,500 people. "The standard headcount of managers, specialises and clerks will be cut by 2,500 jobs," the automaker, most famous for its clunky Soviet-era Lada cars, said in a statement.

Russian car sales slump 8% amid wider slowdown

Russia's car sales dropped by eight percent in July amid a sharp economic slowdown that threatens to slip into a recession by year-end, data showed Thursday. The widely-watched AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee study also showed January to July car and light commercial vehicle sales to have declined by six percent compared to the same period in 2012. "Total market momentum was not good in recent months, and July has not brought about a fundamental change to that," AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee chairman Joerg Schreiber said in a statement.

Finns race back to Cold War era with vintage Ladas

KANGASALA, Finland, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Mikko Holopainen releases the clutch and slams his foot to the floor, sending his orange car's tires spinning on an icy track. Unlike compatriots Kimi Raikkonen and Tommi Makinen known for impressive race and rally car driving on international circuits, this 28-year-old Finn is just happy to show friends that his vintage Soviet-made Lada still has power. The box-shaped Lada, the Finnish everyman's car of the 1970s, is enjoying a cult revival in the country.
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