Visits within Russia

11 may, 2011 17:00

During his visit to AvtoVAZ, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks with its workers

“When I last visited – it was towards the beginning of the crisis – your colleagues asked me: 'Will the plant keep operating or not?' I hope that there is no longer any such question today.”

Transcript of the conversation:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, you’ve made a great car.

Remark: Thank you!

Vladimir Putin: When will you sell these cars?

Answer: We will start producing them next October and sell them in December, which is rather quick.

Vladimir Putin: Well done! How many months did you work on this car?

Answer: Considering projects that had been frozen, it was 18 months. It will be less than two years before we start selling them. For us, this is a major time constraint, and we did out best to produce these cars on schedule.

Vladimir Putin: And how are you doing with Nissan?

Answer: If the project succeeds, both Renault and Nissan are likely to join us. We are negotiating with them now.

Vladimir Putin: What about the four platforms you promised?

Answer: We are planning to commission the first car on the B0 platform by the end of the first quarter of next year.

Vladimir Putin: Together with your partners, you are employing completely new technology and getting an additional opportunity to emerge from the crisis. I think that what you have done recently is not bad at all. You have very nearly raised the production scale to pre-crisis levels and increased wages, haven’t you? Last year, they dropped to 18,000 roubles, correct?

Answer: 18.5 thousand roubles.

Remark: We had a serious drop in wages at the end of 2009 because of the reduced scale of production and the increase of dead time. We had to endure it, and it was a hard time.

Vladimir Putin: But now the wages are at 21,500 roubles, aren’t they?

Answer: Now the average wages are 21,000 roubles. Last October we raised them by 10% in line with the agreement made between the trade unions and the workers. We had a good year, made a profit, and were paid bonuses by the end of the year. Now we have to stabilise the workload in order to steadily increase wages and get back our pre-crisis benefits.

Vladimir Putin: You know that during the crisis we did a lot for your plant. Over two years we gave it a handsome 75 billion roubles through different channels and for different purposes. We first sent you 25 billion roubles when the times were hardest. I think it was in the first quarter of 2009. Later on, we transferred the money to meet different objectives: all these scrapping programmes, interest rate subsidies on car loans, and so on.

I hope that all these steps have… In fact, I see that these investments have done their job. The plant is becoming more stable and has good prospects for the future. When I last visited – it was towards the beginning of the crisis – your colleagues asked me: “Will the plant keep operating or not?” I hope that there is no longer any such question today.

Remark: No…we must justify that trust.

Vladimir Putin: You must produce new models. People expect them from you and from us. These new models have to be economic because our customers look to the highest world and European standards. No doubt, a plant with your potential is capable of producing them.

I’d like to wish you success and to thank you for the results of your work in the past year and the beginning of this year. In the first quarter of this year, your figures were improved almost twofold against the first quarter of last year, especially in January. Your plant is growing stronger thanks to your efforts.

Remark: Mr Putin, we would also like to thank you for helping us so much in such a difficult period. Indeed, we are now manufacturing wonderful cars. We owe you special thanks for the scrapping programme, which enabled many of our workers to replace their old cars with new ones. You have been giving us strong support, and we are very glad to see you here again. For us, it is a big financial measure as well as a show of solidarity, and we’d like to know whether the government as a whole supports us the way you do.

Vladimir Putin: The government is the main instrument of this support. I do not make decisions single-handedly. We make them together. My colleagues draft proposals on different measures, and, at first glance, their work might seem inconspicuous. Thus, for example, we are subsidising the transport of equipment produced in the European part to the Far East. This support is not always visible, but it is there. We are subsidising interest rates, as I’ve already mentioned. This is indirect support, but people go to banks and take out loans on easy terms, thereby improving the market. We are increasing their ability to buy your cars.

For instance, we have organised car purchases for government needs – municipalities, the army, and the Emergencies Ministry. They do not often buy Lada cars, but, for instance, the Ministry of the Interior buys Nivas and other models. We’ve given the money to the customers rather than directly to you, but the demand has instantly gone up.

Remark: But you have given us wages and hope.

Vladimir Putin: You’ve earned everything yourselves. I wish you all the best and every success!

Remark: Thank you.