The Reinvention of Lada | National Geographic in Russia

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National Geographic takes you behind Lada’s modern day reinvention.

[MUSIC PLAYING] SERGEY GORDEEV: When I was nine years old, my father brought home a brand new LADA Zhiguli. He loved that car. And riding in it with him felt like being on top of the world. The other thing I remember about it-- he spent all of his spare time fixing it.

In the Soviet Union, cars like LADA were built with two priorities in mind-- durability and cost. They were also underpowered, had poor fuel economy, and frankly, they weren't winning any beauty contests. But recently, things have changed. LADA is on a quest to reinvent itself so they brought in Steve Mattin of Volvo and Mercedes-Benz to lead LADA into the future.

STEVE MATTIN: It was a bit of a shock. It's like being--

SERGEY GORDEEV: What shocked you?

- Dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and told swim to the nearest shore. We looked at Russian DNA. We looked at a lot of heritage. And the conclusion that I came is we needed an individual look-- exciting, emotional, world class in its design that not only LADA customers but anyone can be proud of.

- Would you say that this is the first car that Russians actually want to own that's made in Russia?

- I'm just as proud of the cars here as the cars that I worked on at Mercedes-Benz or Volvo. And I think that's saying something.

SERGEY GORDEEV: This sounded almost too good to be true. So I decided to check it out for myself.


I still remember how happy my dad was when we bought our first LADA. Although he is no longer with us today, I can only imagine how happy and thrilled he'd be to get his hands on this one.