By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan has taken active steps to establish a car assembly to prevent currency outflows and meet the needs of the population and entrepreneurs in vehicles.
Cars, trailers and semi-trailers were produced in the country worth 106.6 million manats according to the results of 2018, which is 31 times higher compared to 2017, according to the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan.
As many as 969 cars were produced in 2018, which is 32.4 times more than in 2017.
Such a sharp increase in the production of cars in the country was achieved by opening a joint Azerbaijani-Iranian factory Khazar in the Neftchala industrial park on March 29, 2018.
By the way, starting from the current year, Khazar cars are expected to be exported, first of all to the Russian market.
Meanwhile, there is a significant potential for establishing in the country of production not only cars. As many as 297 buses were imported into the country in 2018, which is 110 units, or 58.8 percent more than in 2017, according to the data of the State Customs Committee (SCC) of Azerbaijan.
In recent years, in the direction of the automotive industry development, there is an active cooperation with the manufacturers of vehicles not only in Russia and Iran, but also in Belarus. Thus, Belkommunmash will supply four large-capacity E321 electric buses to Azerbaijan to launch a pilot electric bus route in the Ganja city in 2019, Belkommunmash Holding Management Company OJSC reported.
In the future, on the basis of the Ganja Automobile Plant, it is planned to organize a joint assembly production. The parties signed an agreement on cooperation during the visit to the enterprise of the Azerbaijani delegation. Electricity savings in the operation of the electric bus compared with the trolley bus is 14 percent.
Since the beginning of cooperation, over 10,000 tractors of the Minsk Tractor Plant (MTZ) Belarus and over 3,500 trucks of the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) have been assembled in the shops of the Ganja Automobile Plant.
With the revival of the Azerbaijan economy, entrepreneurs significantly increased the purchase of equipment - last year 2,300 trucks were imported to the country, which is 1,073 units, or almost twice as many as in 2017. In this case, it is not only about trucks with a high load carrying capacity, but also light-duty trucks.
It is planned to launch a new truck assembly plant in the Hajigabul industrial quarter at the end of 2019 - the GAZel NEXT, GAZon NEXT Russian trucks, as well as GAZel Business and Sable Business and their all-wheel drive versions will be produced here.
GAZ Group and Azermash signed the corresponding agreement on September 3, 2018 in Sochi as part of negotiations between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia.
At the second stage of automobile plant development, the production of Vektor NEXT and LiAZ buses is envisaged.
The growth in population size and well-being, on the one hand, and the improvement of the business climate in the country on the other, create opportunities for the development of the automotive industry in order to meet primarily domestic demand for vehicles in the country.
According to the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 28.88 million vehicles were imported from abroad according to the results of 2018. On imports of vehicles and spare parts in 2018 were spent $641.7 million, which is $219.6 million, or 52 percent more compared to 2017.
Over the past years, the minimum import of passenger cars was in 2016 - 5 million units. The maximum volume of imports of passenger cars fell in 2013 - 94.88 million units.
The Nakhchivan facility opened in 2010 and assembles eight models of Lifan passenger cars designed by China’s Lifan Group, which provides all the necessary spare parts for cars to the plant so they may be assembled in Azerbaijan under the direct supervision of Chinese automotive specialists.
The Neftchala Automotive Plant produces four brands of cars, mostly Iranian: Dena, Runna, Soren, and Samand all belong to Iran’s Khodro Company. All vehicles are in line with Euro-5 gasoline standards, an obligatory environmental standard in Azerbaijan that regulates the content of harmful substances in exhaust gases.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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