What's wrong with us? I'll tell you. In Russia, things work differently. Same goes for the automotive industry. During the "reign of the Soviet empire", there was such a phenomenon as an "export variant". The cars made in the USSR and that would be sold in Europe were assembled and equipped much better than the ones that were supposed to be sold in Russia. That's probably why you like your Niva so much. Russian Niva owners deal with problems that you probably won't have to deal with. Believe me, I am a (former) Russian car owner, and a Muscovite, with quite a lot of experience. I had a Volga, the Lada 2114 (face lifted Samara), and not only.
Volgas are great looking cars, and there's no denying the value! The new Volga 31105 starts at roughly $7,000 USD- that's over 2 grand LESS than a tiny Korean compact like a Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent. And the Volga's a big, full-size RWD sedan with muscular, authoratative styling. I wish Volga would come to the US market, there would literally be no competition for them here, and for everyone who disparages Russian cars Volgas are generally considered an exception, as they were traditionally for the monied among Soviet society and are therefore built to much higher levels of quality than other Russian cars (save for the ZIL limousines).
The 31105 looks nice, but, considering your statement, you've never driven a Volga. On paper, it is big, sturdy and cheap, but in real life, it is a nightmare in terms of it's reliability. Plus the build quality doesn't even come close to the two Korean cars you named. It still rides on a 30+ year old platform, with leaf-springs at the rear (the 31107 will cure that, but Russian "concept cars" are teasers that rarely go into production: remember the GAZ-3106 SUV, or Ataman 2?...). And consider this: the Lada 2112 used to cost 5000 dollars in Russia, while in Europe (that was three years ago) it cost 8000 EURO. How much will the 7300 BONE STOCK 31105 cost stateside? I'd say 12000-14000 dollars, but I'm not sure. For that kind of money, I'd buy a 1-2 year old Taurus, which is light-years ahead of the Volga in construction, loaded with power accessories, looks better, not to mention it is much more reliable and well built. And more powerful. Yes Volga's can be equipped with the Toyota 5VZ engine (3.4 liters, 204 hp, best known for old 4Runner and Land Cruiser Prado use), but that costs $$$, and a lot.
The 3111, or, even better, the old 3103-3104 concepts of 1998 would probably be a hit in the States, especially for people who just don't want to be like everyone else and drive the same car as every neighbor on the block!
I love Volgas. But most of you here are right, they do break a lot, but when they do they are cheap to fix (in central Asia, or eastern Europe - I don't have one here, but I'm sure that it'll cost me a quite a bit to fix it if something broke). Overall, though, have to say that they are powerful and aggressive cars.
So... I am from Russia. And I speak English very poorly. But... I have had a Volga 3110 for at least 5 years. It’s a fantastic car and I like it.
Brand new Volgas will break in the first few months, but once the initial bugs are out of the way the cars DO NOT BREAK down they practically run forever, they are cheap to maintain and it's the only car made today that you know can last you for 20 years. It's simple and reliable and it's a damn shame you can't get them in the US. They don't have any toys and aren't the most fun cars in the world, but they do the job and for the money they can't be beaten. My advice is buy one that been used for a year or so, that way the owner has probably already taken care of all the initial headaches for you.
Volgas are great cars! Those who criticise them unfairly, are either biased against Russian made cars, or are not very mechanically minded or skilled. A car, in general, is only as good as the owner behind it. President Putin owns and drives an immaculate 1957 Volga, and recently gave the visiting U.S. President a run in it. He was most impressed- and we are talking about a Volga that is nearly 50 years old!
Ohh yes I remember admiring people who owned Volgas when I lived in Russia 15 years ago. Those who drove Volgas were of higher class, and a lot more respected by the general public. I felt so inferior in my grandpa's ketchup red "Zaporojetz'." The major difference between the "Zapo" and the Volga was that it took about 3 guys and ten yards of startup space to get the "Zopo" moving - the Volga only required 2 guys, a skilled mechanic, and a motivational speaker.
Volgas were always the 'elite' car in Soviet Union. If you had a volga you were the man. Later models in 90 were the only cars with 200KPH on the speedometer. They are big, heavy, RWD cars...lately GAS was working pretty hard on improving quality and standarts for their cars. In 10 years we can see Volgas and Zhigulis in USA. I know that I will own one. And license plate will be "YKRAUHA"
Hi all! I'm from Russia (Saint-Petersburg), so excuse me please for my English ;)
I used different cars - VAZ (Lada) 2106, 2112, 2114, NIVA, GAZ Volga 3110i, GAZ Volga 31105, GAZ Volga 3102, Audi A4, Ford Sierra, Ford Scorpio (1997). Volga is not the best car, but it combines good price, quite good quality and a high level of comfort by Russian measures. Now my car is a Volga 31105 with Rover engine.
I can buy a more expensive car (for example Ford Mondeo, Audi A6), but I do not need it. At this time the Volga completely arranges on all parameters that I want to see in my everyday car.
One more time sorry for my very bad English :)
If you have any questions - you can mail me: email@example.com.
To the commenter from St.Petersburg, Russia, I wish to say: 1.There is no need to apologise for your "bad" English- your English is most admirable. 2. Congratulations for selecting the Volga (in preference to foreign imports) and thus supporting your nation`s automotive industry. You set a good and positive example. Regards, and Happy Motoring!
To the above poster questioning the potential to import Volgas into the US:
Emissions is not the issue. Over the past 35+ years, most automakers have learned how to deal with emissions, and any Volga made today would most likely pass an American emissions test with ease. In fact, they meet all current emissions control standards set by the European Union.
The real issues are crash safety and design conformity. Volgas, although nice cars, are updated versions of a design dating back to the 1960's. The 3110 scored poorly in EuroNCAP crash testing, and although the new 31105 is probably better (new front clip), it is highly unlikely that a Volga could meet even the minimum NHTSA standards.
The cars also lack basic equipment required as standard on US-market cars, like dual airbags, and soon-to-be mandated features like side curtain airbags and electronic tire pressure monitoring. Their ECUs (Electronic Control Modules) would also be noncompliant with EPA requirements, since they run on a different programming language that cannot be read by American diagnostic equipment.
In short, it would be virtually impossible to adapt any of the current Volga range for sale in the US, and even if you could, such a dated design would likely not be able to sell enough to pay for the massive re-engineering costs. The car's price would also increase substantially due to all the extra equipment, probably bringing it very close to more modern cars from Hyundai and Kia.
Bottom line, if you really want a Volga, then look for a 1981 M24 in good condition, and import it privately. Any car at least 25 years of age is exempt from all EPA and NHTSA standards and can be brought into the country and registered with no problem.