40 years making the same product. How's that for innovation! More bailing out bad behaviour.
The factory here has been stamping out the same version of the Lada, the typical boxy people’s car of the former Eastern Bloc, for four decades. Known as Avtovaz for short, it is one of the least efficient automobile factories anywhere in the world — each worker produces, on average, eight cars a year, compared with 36 cars a year at General Motors’ assembly line in Bowling Green, Ky., for example. Yet the government is giving Avtovaz (pronounced aft-OV-az) billions of dollars in aid, no strings attached. No chief executive firings. No renegotiation of workers’ contracts. No demands to turn out better-quality cars, much less fuel-efficient hybrid cars. (The first car with an airbag was introduced here in 2005.) But the auto bailout, Russian style, is intended more to ensure peace in the streets than restructure a business, much to the lament of some critics who think tough love might be better. “The key issue is too much government protection,” Yegor T. Gaidar, a former prime minister, said. “The factory will create as many problems for the Russian economy as General Motors for the States.”