In 2014, President HE Ilham Aliyev decorated several employees of the Ganja Automobile Plant with medals. How important is the training and vocational development of company employees?
The President has repeatedly spoken highly of Ganja Automobile Plant. He has praised the quality of the vehicles assembled by our enterprise and emphasized the role our enterprise is playing in the agricultural and industrial development of Azerbaijan. The Director of Ganja Automobile Plant PU, Kamran Gilman Nazarov, was awarded the Tereggi Order. In December 2014, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary of operations. The success we have achieved in these 10 years is the result of hard work. When we started operating in 2004, our plant had a team of only 80 people, and now 500 people work with us. Our professional team has contributed hugely to the plant and it individuals. We emphasized the role our company is playing in developing more experienced professionals to learn on the job. Then, they are transferred to assembly lines. Automobiles and tractors are changing rapidly, and it is important to keep abreast of the latest technological advances. To enhance the knowledge and skills of our staff, we send our specialists to other automotive plants around the world. Our engineers also visit the enterprises we cooperate with to allow an exchange of experience and knowledge.
What models have been manufactured recently, and do you expect to produce any new models in Azerbaijan in 2015?
The motto of the Ganja Automobile Plant is “Step by Step from Small to Large Volumes." We have been working hard since 2004 to live up to the attention and support of the President of Azerbaijan. We began by assembling VAZ 111113 OKA vehicles in a small workshop 10 years ago, and now we assemble six models of tractors, 10 models of MAZ trucks, and various units of agricultural hardware. This is made possible by three cutting-edge assembly lines, a painting site, a welding shop, and a mechanical workshop. In 2014, we signed a distribution contract with Russia, which envisages the assembly of KAMAZ trucks in Azerbaijan and their sale to third-party countries. Under the agreement signed, a new assembly line has already been installed at our plant. This will enable us to start the assembly of KAMAZ trucks in the near future. The document will provide Ganja Automobile Plant to expand the range of its hardware and equipment, as well as facilitate our sales both domestically and internationally. According to the agreement signed, we will continue the assembly of MTZ-622 and MTZ-422 mini-tractors, which we started in 2014, as well as begin manufacturing 10 MAZ truck and six tractor models.
Who are the most notable customers of Ganja Automobile Plant and is there potential for expanding the customer base?
Since the quality of our equipment complies with customer requirements, there is no problem with demand. The fact that we have service centers across the country is also helpful; every vehicle we sell is serviced at one of our centers within the warranty period. We are currently cooperating closely with AgroLeasing. Our plant manufactures tractors and other agricultural machinery for state orders and other agencies. Our customers include business people, farmers, district authorities, and municipalities. Strategic cooperation agreements with MTZ-Holding will further enable us to sell to third countries, thereby providing us with access to foreign markets. Our marketing department is currently working in this direction and exploring the markets of neighboring countries.
In January, 2015 was declared the Year of Agriculture. What contribution is Ganja Automobile Plant making to the development of this sector?
Our company largely manufactures agricultural machinery, with the exception of MAZ trucks. Ganja Automobile Plant is one of the largest manufacturing enterprises in the region. The agricultural machinery we manufacture in accordance with the agreement signed with AgroLeasing is available in all Azerbaijani regions. Our enterprise also provides maintenance of this machinery, which is important for our clients. In 2014, our company alone produced 1,265 tractors of different models and modifications, out of which 1,220 were handed over to AgroLeasing. Over this period, we have also assembled 942 units of suspended equipment and 17 tractors. In 2015, we plan to manufacture around 1,500 tractors, 1,000 units of suspended equipment, and 30 tractor-trailers.
What opportunities do the inaugural European Games, which will be held this year, present for the development of the Ganja Automobile Plant and the automotive industry as a whole?
The fact that the first European Games have been awarded to Azerbaijan is a great success of the country. Baku European Games Operation Committee has announced Nakhchivan Automobile Plant (NAP) as its official partner. This will certainly elevate domestic automotive industry to a new level. The inaugural European Games will contribute not only to the development of the automotive industry, but also to the establishment of a modern sport and tourism infrastructure.
What are the goals and expectations of Ganja Automobile Plant in 2015?
Innovation and development are top priorities, and we constantly look for new opportunities and projects. There are other companies interested in cooperating with us. We intend to manufacture more than 1,500 tractors of different modifications, 1,000 units of suspended equipment, 30 tractor trailers, and more than 400 special purpose vehicles in 2015. We will also continue assembly of MTZ 422 and MTZ 622 mini-tractors and heavy-duty semitrailers. We will also continue to manufacture municipal machinery based on the trilateral agreement signed between Germany MTHaller, Minsk Automobile Plant, and Ganja Automobile Plant.