The Lada is the third best selling car in the world after the Ford Model T and the Volkswagen Beetle. The company made its name in Western Europe selling the VAZ 2101, a car based on the Fiat 124. The rugged design of these cars and their heavy gauge steel bodywork meant that were ideal for Siberian climates, and were able to withstand poorer roads.
Their ability to hold up under heavy usage, alongside being cheap to purchase and maintain made them a popular choice for service vehicles. They were adopted as police cars and taxis in Russia, parts of Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. They became a symbol of city life in the former Soviet Bloc, and were heavily exported in the 1980s and 1990s.
After over 40 years, AutoVaz stopped the production of the 2107 in April 2012. Throughout the cold war, it had been one of the most desired cars in Eastern Europe. Over 18 million were sold and 250,000 Soviet Era vehicles are still on the roads. In the West, the Lada was derided for poor build quality, an out-dated style and a clumsy boxy aesthetic. The last car to be sold in the UK was in 1997.