Russia's Avtovaz to recall 20,000 Lada XRAY cars

MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russia’s Avtovaz is recalling almost 20,000 of its new Lada XRAY cars to check for a possible electrical fault, the country’s technical standards agency said on Thursday.

Avtovaz, majority-owned by Renault, is Russia’s biggest carmaker and has fought hard in recent years to dispel the poor Soviet-era reputation of its top-selling Lada brand.

The company launched the XRAY crossover last year as part of a fleet of new-generation models with sleek designs and a range of consumer comforts.

Russian consumer standards watchdog Rosstandart said on Thursday Avtovaz was recalling 19,668 XRAYs sold since they came to market in February last year check for possible problems with the engine wiring.

The company sold 19,943 XRAYs last year, and has sold another 23,976 so far in 2017, making it Russia’s eighth most-popular car, according to the Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group.

An Avtovaz spokesman said the recall was standard procedure. “This is not a mass defect, it’s rather us being cautious in order to rule out the possibility of such a fault,” he said.

Avtovaz and other Russian carmakers have become some of the most high-profile victims of Russia’s economic crisis, watching earnings slide as annual car sales more than halved from a 2012 peak of almost 3 million a year.

But the industry’s prospects have brightened this year on the back of a nascent economic recovery and the AEB said on Monday it now expected the market to grow by 10.8 percent in 2017. (Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Maria Kiselyova, Greg Mahlich)