Publications > Publication
KAMAZ: A course towards co-operation and integration

KAMAZ Director General, Sergei Anatolievich Kogogin, answers the questions of External Economic Relations

EER: Sergei Anatolievich, what main priorities are there today in KAMAZ’s external economic relations with foreign countries and, specifically, how are relations with Arab states developing?

– The main priorities are reflected in the KAMAZ Development Strategy that is being implemented and covers the period of up to 2010. As regards the development of external economic relations, this is, above all, a course towards mutually beneficial assistance, towards co-operation and integration. The goal is to effectively build our business on world markets, and in this respect all forms are acceptable, from regenerating former relations with a whole number of states, to establishing totally new contacts, from the usual practice of export-selling KAMAZ trucks, to the opening of assembly facilities in various regions. Thus, for instance, KAMAZ with its trucks has returned to the market of Afghanistan, South-East Asia, Latin America and has for the first time in its history started supplies to the countries of North and West Africa. Last year saw the opening of KAMAZ’s assembly facility in Vietnam. In 2005 we plan to assemble 1,200 trucks in that country.

The dynamics of KAMAZ’s export sales growth in recent years has been a sizeable one, and it is not accidental that the company has for five years running been recognized as Russia’s best exporter in the automotive industry.

A few years ago KAMAZ developed a long-term programme for promoting its products to the external market. Talking of the development of relations with the Middle East, the stake was initially placed on the UAE as on an intensively developing country, and time has proved this choice to be correct. As part of the programme, product presentations were held; in 1996, vehicles brought to the UAE were tested throughout the hottest summer months and, as early as then, gave good account of themselves. It was practically at the same time that KAMAZ’s regular participation in IDEX exhibitions in Abu Dhabi began. Participation in the 2000 exhibition resulted in the UAE’s first decision to buy two lots of KAMAZ trucks. To execute this order, we organised a maintenance base with state-of-the-art equipment. All this, together with the work of qualified specialists who trained local staff, is convincing of the advantages of KAMAZ’s service better than any advertising. KAMAZ was honoured with one of the main awards ‘For Supreme Vehicles Displayed in Demo Operations’ at the IDEX-2003 international exhibition of weapons and military technology. Now talks are under way to conclude a new contract with the UAE. Further ‘mastery of the map’ of the Arab East is continuing as well. Among other reasons is the fact that the Republic of Tatarstan has traditionally enjoyed strong positions in the Muslim world. As a result, we have won several large contracts which we performed carriedout with flying colours. The KAMAZ-Master team’s annually acknowledged success at traditional Paris-Dakar rallies has brought recognition to KAMAZ throughout the world.

EER: How are these relations establishing themselves in the area of automotive supplies? What are the prospects for developing these relations in the short term?

– The preferences of such a demanding organisation as the UAE Defence Ministry served as a good example for other Middle East countries, which have also started co-operating with us. Within the framework of implementing the UN Oil-for-Food programme, long-suffering Iraq had over 3,000 vehicles supplied to it. Then followed new contracts and supplies to Kuwait, Syria and a whole range of other countries. Today our KAMAZ trucks operate in the Kingdom of Bahrain’s National Guard; last year KAMAZ executed one of the largest orders in recent years: 500 vehicles were assembled for Qatar’s Defence Ministry, and we had our first experience of supplies in Sudan. The topical interest in the so-called dual-purpose KAMAZ vehicles is stipulated by their robustness, durability, cross-country power in the desert environment, speed and manoeuvrability, and also by the fact that quite a large number of Middle East states have been implementing a technical upgrade programme. To equip their armies with vehicles that are not very expensive but are capable of solving any tactical tasks is quite a relevant issue for them today. Great interest in our vehicles is displayed by the countries that use vehicles with right-hand drive; in India, for instance, KAMAZ trucks have been engaged in highway construction for several years already.

EER: What is there in co-operating with your enterprise that attracts foreign partners? What is the advantage of the products and co-operation terms offered by KAMAZ?

– KAMAZ’s reliability as a business partner has long been proved in practice. To finance export and promote KAMAZ products to foreign markets, we have established co-operation with commercial banks in the area of foreign trade operations. Today all the enterprises of the KAMAZ group that form the main technological chain in all product lines are certified for Quality Management System compliance with ISO 9001:2000 requirements, which entitles KAMAZ to be granted national certificates in the member countries of the Union of Certification Bodies without undergoing additional certification. The company turns out vehicles of over 30 models, from small-tonnage to super heavy-duty ones, and, in accordance with consumer orders, has the capability to supply practically all their modifications, according to the number requested, preserving, at the same time, a high degree of units and assemblies unification. We are constantly working to improve the engine, including environmental standards that meet international requirements. In 2005, KAMAZ became the holder of certificates to produce Euro 3 engines. Service is also an important factor. In supplying large numbers of vehicles abroad, the company strives to ensure their repair service on the importing country’s territory. Such guaranteed care is sure to attract operating organisations and countries, which are thus given an opportunity to create new jobs.

EER: Will you please speak on the deployment of KAMAZ automotive production facilities abroad. Where, within what terms, in what volumes, under what conditions?

– KAMAZ assembly facilities with participation by local firms — our partners — are today operating in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Vietnam; we are also working at the issue of opening one in Egypt. In the short term, we will begin to assemble KAMAZ trucks in Pakistan, Iran, and Sudan. Options in Europe are also being considered. One of the pre-conditions for such a step may be deemed the trend of many-year continuous growth in the demand for KAMAZ products. But everything depends on the needs and capabilities of each particular country, on the prospects for attracting serious investors and business partners to the on-site realization of projects, and not only on inter-governmental agreements. In Vietnam, the procedure for opening assembly facilities from beginning to end lasted, in total, for about a year. For many developing countries the path of creating assembly facilities is the only chance to enter the number of states producing automotive vehicles.

EER: What KAMAZ models (including military ones) will be displayed at the exhibition in Abu Dhabi? What are their principal characteristics?

– At IDEX-2005, KAMAZ will display totally new KAMAZ-6560 and KAMAZ-65224 drop-side truck tractors with 14- and 19-ton capacity, manufactured with heavy assemblies, having high towing and dynamic qualities, which allows them to negotiate practically any obstacles. The former vehicle is for the first time equipped with a diesel 8-cylinder turbocharged 400 hp engine. Both exhibits are supplied with 6- and 16-speed transmissions by Zanrad Fabrik, which clearly evidences the development of KAMAZ’s co-operation with leading European firms. Three-seat cabs with a sleeper berth are convenient for drivers. As usual, IDEX participants will be able to evaluate the KAMAZ trucks in the course of tests. As part of the exhibition, we intend to hold talks with the representatives of 50 countries.

EER: What are the volumes of the RF Defence Ministry’s order for your military products?

– The Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation is one of the largest major customers of KAMAZ; there is also the practice of vehicle-designing on its commission. The potential of the KAMAZ science-and-engineering centre permits the undertaking of this work for practically any industry. In October last year, the General officers of the RF Defence Ministry, who were holding a scientific-and-practical conference in Naberezhnye Chelny, announced the army’s intention to change over to new types of vehicles in 2006. As part of everything needed for re-equipment, about 50 per cent is the need for vehicles produced and designed by KAMAZ. Since the Defence Ministry’s position is to establish long-terms relationships with production plants, we expect to maintain established contacts and, in future, to continue receiving substantial orders from one of our most reliable partners.

EER Magazine.- 2005, №1 (13), pp.14-17.