Soviet-era car brand revived

THE RUSSIAN Moskvich may return to production after French automaker Renault transfers its Russian assets to Moscow.

On May 16, Renault announced the transfer of assets in Russia to the Russian government . Russia also confirmed this news, marking the first major nationalization since Western sanctions imposed after the military campaign in Ukraine.

Production at the Renault plant will be restored, and it is possible that there will be production of cars under the Moskvich brand dating from the Soviet era. "We cannot let thousands of workers lose their jobs. This year we will open a new page in history for Moskvich," said Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Model Moskvich 408 - family car model produced in 1964-1975. Photo: Faeton museum

Moskvich was first produced from 1946 to 2001. The car has a sturdy design, an affordable price, using components made in Russia as well as the old East Germany. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the company was privatized and subsequently declared bankrupt.

There are still about 200,000 Moskvich vehicles registered in Russia, including 46,000 vehicles that are more than 35 years old, according to Autostat (a website specializing in data analysis in Russia).

For mayor Sobyanin - who calls the brand "legend" - the return of Moskvich can confirm the practical difficulties.

"It takes at least two years and at least a billion dollars to develop a new model," said Sergei Tselikov, head of Autostat , about the plan to revive the Moskvich brand.

And Sobyanin said that reopening the factory in Moscow could help produce internal combustion engine vehicles and even electric vehicles in the future. He said he is working with the Russian commerce ministry to source as many parts as possible in Russia, and that Kamaz truck company can be the main technical partner.

In a statement, Kamaz said that while they support the mayor's decision, issues of cooperation are still being discussed and an official announcement may be made when the issues are resolved.

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