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Lada is a brand of cars manufactured by AvtoVAZ, a company owned by the French Groupe Renault. The first cars manufactured by AvtoVAZ, with technical assistance from Fiat, were marketed under the Zhiguli brand, allegedly chosen after it was suggested by the designer, A. M. Cherny. When the cars began to be exported on foreign markets, the Zhiguli brand was found to be inappropriate, as it was hard to pronounce for non-Russian speakers, and it was said to resemble too closely the word gigolo.The Lada brand appeared in 1973, and it has since become the main brand for AvtoVAZ vehicles. The name Lada derived from a type of Viking longship (lad'ya), symbolized by the car's logo. The brand has a long history in Russia, and it is well known in post-Soviet countries; today Lada vehicles are positioned as affordable, and as offering good value for money.The keys to its success were: competitive price, reliability, simple DIY-friendly mechanics and unpretentious functionality. The car was built under licence in several other countries. Competitive pricing and ease of service made Ladas common as police cars, taxis and a range of public service and civil defence vehicles in many parts of Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.