World Cup 2018: Only 179 Ladas on the road

With the World Cup due to kick off in Moscow on Thursday (14th June), car buying comparison website thought it would be fun take a look at one of Russia’s greatest exports; not vodka, not caviar, not dolls, but the car once the butt of jokes about its reliability – the Lada.

The last time England failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1994, there were 134,297 Russian-built Ladas, registered to drive on UK roads. Today, the number has dwindled by 99.9% to 179. Between 1994 and 2005 – just over 10 years – the number of licensed Ladas fell from more than 134,000 to less than 3,000, a monumental fall from grace.

The Lada, was first built in the Soviet Union in 1970 by the Russian car giant AvtoVAZ. It spawned a thousand playground jokes but ended up selling more than 20 million worldwide. The VAZ-2101 was modelled on the 1966 Fiat 124 saloon and despite its boxy look and drab colours, it proved extremely popular. Almost two-thirds of Ladas went on to be sold outside Russia, with more than 300,000 selling in Britain between 1977 and 1997.

lads on UK roads 2018
The loveable Lada. Only 179 of these once-derided vehicles remain on UK roads. Collectable? You betcha!

So, where did they all go? Although still a popular sight in Russia, the Lada is now largely extinct on British roads. Sales hit the skids in the UK when tighter carbon emissions standards meant many Ladas didn’t match up to more rigorous green requirements.

But claims ‘the Lada is empty’ may be a little premature since this piece of motoring history has now taken on classic car status. And for the first time since the height of its popularity in the 1990s, the number of licensed Ladas on UK roads has actually started to rise, albeit from a very low base.

At the beginning of 2017, the number of licensed Ladas on UK roads stood at 165. That had increased to 179 by the start of 2018. And with 679 Ladas registered as ‘off the road’, there appears to be a lot of Lada owners storing their rare models away under lock and key, hoping to see values boom, as has happened with many other classic motors from the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website comments: “The Lada is not quite empty, but with fewer than 200 now eligible to drive on UK roads it has become seriously rare. And with the eyes of the world on Russia for the next few months, has the Lada’s time come? Nostalgia for Ladas is growing and scarcity will drive up prices. Savvy classic car buyers should consider getting one while they still can.”

Motorway raises £2.75m in seed funding from LocalGlobe and Marchmont Ventures to revolutionise selling your car online

  • Motorway enables car sellers to compare offers and find the best deal in seconds
  • The one-year old company is already driving over 25,000 monthly sales enquiries
  • Investors in the seed funding include LocalGlobe, Marchmont Ventures and Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman

London, 05/06/18:​ Motorway (​​), the UK’s first price comparison website for selling your car, today announces it has secured £2.75 million in seed funding.

Launched in 2017, Motorway enables car owners to compare multiple instant offers for their vehicle and find the best deal in seconds – bringing speed and transparency to a previously frustrating process.

The UK’s used car market is estimated to be ​worth over £50 billion​ annually, with more than ​8 million used cars sold in 2017​ alone. But the process of selling a car has gone largely unchanged for decades, requiring motorists to drive to multiple car dealers to negotiate a sale, or list on websites like AutoTrader or eBay.

Motorway makes selling a car faster by bringing the options online: consumers enter their car’s registration number and mileage to instantly see multiple offers from car buying services, specialist dealerships and even vehicle recycling firms. They can then compare headline offers, read buyer reviews, collection criteria, fees and payment methods before choosing their best deal.

By comparing offers, consumers can get up to £1,000 more than going directly to one buyer.

Having launched in July 2017, the company has grown rapidly and currently has over 25,000 monthly customer sales enquiries. Motorway’s new funding will enable further development of its software platform, expansion of its network of car buyers and wider promotion of the service throughout the UK.

The seed funding was co-led by leading early-stage VC firm ​LocalGlobe​ and ​Marchmont Ventures​, the venture fund of Hugo Burge (entrepreneur and former CEO of Momondo Group). Alex Chesterman (Zoopla founder and CEO), Duncan Jennings (founder of, and early Spotify investor Shakil Khan also participated in the round.

Motorway was founded by Tom Leathes, Harry Jones and Alex Buttle, an entrepreneurial team that’s worked together for over a decade. They have three successful startups behind them already, including the UK’s biggest broadband price comparison site, which was acquired by uSwitch.

Tom Leathes, CEO & Co-Founder of Motorway said:

“Selling​ ​a​ ​car can be stressful and time-consuming, and it often leaves consumers feeling confused and out of pocket. There’s a real perception that you need to be a car expert to get a good deal, and that needs to change.

“Motorway makes it easy for everyone to compare the market and find the best deal for their car – and for dealers to connect with motivated sellers instantly.

With this funding round we’re thrilled to be working with a group of investors with deep experience in price comparison – and who share our focus on championing consumers.”

Partner at LocalGlobe, ​Suzanne Ashman​ states​:

“We are very excited to be working with Motorway. Founders Tom, Harry and Alex have a strong track record of building products that help consumers get the best deals.

Creating a compelling experience for people selling their cars is hard. The potential buyers are fragmented with many different online and offline options. Information about the sale process is difficult to find and pricing is often unclear. Motorway’s technology is exceptional and will bring much needed transparency for car owners.”

Director of Marchmont Ventures, ​Hugo Burge​ says:

“We are delighted to be backing a proven team we have gotten to know over many years and are confident that they’ll execute at breakneck speed. Motorway has an exciting opportunity to significantly improve the often opaque, misleading and confusing marketplace for used cars. We believe in their ability to make a genuine difference for consumers, whilst helping the industry to be more efficient, digitally enabled and better trusted.”