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After 13 years the much-derided Lada could be back on UK roads

After a 13-year interlude from UK showrooms, the Lada is set to make a comeback. AvtoVAZ, the Russian maker of the Lada, has struck a deal with the French car manufacturer Renault, and both firms see the UK as an ideal market for a "credit crunch cruiser". "The UK was one of the few markets where the Lada was a success," Steve Norman, vice president of Renault UK, told the BBC. "I'm confident the time is right to bring it back." Paul Horrell, of Top Gear magazine, was dismissive, telling the BBC: "It was square, boxy. It was slow. It rusted easily." But he did add that Renault's influence will make it a "very different car". The Lada made its UK debut in 1977, but as the post-communist Russia industry ran into trouble, coupled with a greener Britain requiring lower carbon emissions, the last Lada was sold in summer 1997. Norman believes the new Lada could be on sale in the UK in Britain in two years' time. So only time will tell if comedians need to revisit their Nineties joke books. What do you call a Lada at the top of a hill? A miracle.

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