MOSCOW (AP) -- Several hundred workers of Russia's largest automaker, AvtoVAZ, rallied Thursday to protest the management's decision to halt production for one month due to slumping demand for cars.
Demonstrators in the Volga River city of Togliatti, where the plant is located, called on the government to nationalize it.
Avtovaz, which employs 130,000 people, has announced it will suspend production for the entire month of August.
Russian Technologies -- a sprawling state-controlled conglomerate set up by the Kremlin to streamline the country's aging manufacturing base -- sold half of its 50 percent share in AvtoVAZ to France's Renault last year. Investment bank Troika Dialog owns another 25 percent. The remaining quarter is floated on the market.
AvtoVAZ, which makes the compact Lada sedan that has been a mainstay on Russian roads since the 1960s, produced 801,600 cars in 2008.
The company has suffered from a steep drop-off in sales as Russian consumers pull back on major purchases amid the global financial crisis. In March, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced nearly $1 billion in government loans to help AvtoVAZ pay off its suppliers and creditors.