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JSC Moscow Automobile Plant Moskvitch
Native name
АО «Московский автомобильный завод «Москвич»
  • KIM (1930-1945)
  • ZMA/MZMA (1945-1968)
  • AZLK (1968–1993)
  • OAO Moskvitch (1993–1998)
  • Avtoframos (1998-2014)
  • Renault Russia (2014-2022)
Founded6 November 1930
Area served
Key people
Productscars, SUVs, pickup trucks, sports vehicles, vans
Revenue530,700,000,000 Russian ruble (1994) Edit this on Wikidata
OwnerGovernment of Moscow
WebsiteMoskvich (ru)

Moskvitch or Moskvich (Russian: Москвич) (also written as Moskvich, Moskvič, or Moskwitsch) is a Soviet/Russian automobile brand produced by AZLK from 1946 to 1991 and by OAO Moskvitch from 1991 to 2001. Production later resumed in 2022. The current article incorporates information about both the brand and the joint-stock successor of AZLK.

OAO Moskvitch is the name of a privatized venture given to the former factory to avoid legal issues after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since the factory had no assembly branches outside Russia after 1991, its name is largely used today to refer to the building located in the lower eastern part of Moscow.

The word moskvich (Russian: москвич) itself translates as "a native of Moscow, a Moscovite". It was used to point out the original location of the cars manufactured there.



Early history


The Soviet Union entered a series of five-year plans in 1928 under the rule of Joseph Stalin. The goals of the plan was to rapidly industrialise the economy of the Soviet Union. Included in these plans were provisions for the development of domestic automobile production. It was assumed that by improving the quality of life for the affected citizens and providing them with the opportunity to learn to drive during peacetime, they would constitute a cadre of trained drivers for the Red army in the event of armed conflict.

Industrial cooperation between Russia and the American Ford Motor Company dated back to the era of Nicholas II, with the company being an important supplier of passenger and commercial vehicles such as tractors and trucks. This cooperation persisted despite the events and ideology of the Russian Revolution, with tens of thousands of vehicles imported during the 1910s and 1920s. This was deemed necessary due to the devastation of the state and its economic output following the Great War, occupation of Russian territories by the Central Powers, and the Russian Civil War.

The construction of the Moscow Car Assembly Factory (Russian: Московский автосборочный завод) began in 1929. In December 1930, the plant received the name of KIM (Factory named after Communist Youth International) Russian: КИМ (Завод имени Коммунистического Интернационала Молодёжи), from 1930 to 1939 its official name was Moscow Car Assembly Factory named after KIM (Russian: Московский автосборочный завод имени КИМ) and then from 1939 until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War it was called Moscow Car Factory named after KIM (Russian: Московский автомобильный завод имени КИМ).


In 1930, the licensed production of Ford Model A and Ford Model AA vehicles began. These were assembled using knock-down kits. In 1933, the plant became a branch of GAZ and began to assemble GAZ-A and GAZ-AA vehicles.[1] In 1939, KIM was no longer a subsidiary of GAZ and in the following year it started to produce their first own model, the KIM 10 inspired by the Ford Prefect. The plant's newly formed design department was headed by A. N. Ostrovtsev, an engineer from the NAMI, and tasked by the Economic Committee of Sovnarkom with designing a small economy car suitable for large scale manufacture. From November 1940 to April 1941, 338 sedans were assembled. Exact production numbers for the phaeton version are unknown.

Great Patriotic War


In May 1941 the Red Army subjected a KIM-10 to a series of tests, including in road conditions varying from the newly built Moscow-Minsk Highway to rural mud roads and off-road. Despite the official “mostly satisfactory” mark, the car proved to be unsuited to the requirements of the military service.

In October, 1941 the plant was hastily evacuated to Ural. Most of the manufacturing equipment was abandoned or destroyed during the Battle of Moscow.

In 1944, with a Soviet Victory imminent, plans were in place to continue production of the KIM-10-52.

First generation


In August 1945, the plant was renamed to the Moscow Plant of Small Cars (MZMA) (Russian: Московский Завод Малолитражных Автомобилей).

Moskvitch 401

Following the war, the Soviet Union requested vehicle tooling and designs from Germany as part of war reparations, to compensate for the loss of industrial equipment in the Battle of Moscow. Soviet planners wished for a car similar in specifications to the KIM 10, and as such rejected the KdF-Wagen and DKW F8. The Opel Kadett K38 was found to match these requirements. In August 1945, the State Defense Committee published Order No. 9905, which prescribed the start of production of the Kadett, under the Moskvitch-400 name. The implementation of this order was however deeply complicated. The Opelwerk Brandenburg plant had been deeply involved in the Nazi German war effort, producing aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe, and had been heavily damaged by Allied bombing. However, a number of Kadetts had been captured by the Red Army and were available for study, and was accomplished through joint Soviet-German ventures overseen by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany. Nonetheless, the majority of stamping dies and tooling were freshly produced in the Soviet Union due to the amount of damage to the factory. Production of the Moskvitch 400-420 began in December 1946, and continued for ten years until 1956 with the improved Moskvitch 401.[2] In total 247,439 400 and 401 models had been built, with some being exported to countries such as Belgium, East Germany and Norway.

Second generation

Moskvitch 407

MZMA replaced the 400 and 401 with new designs starting in 1956, developed within the Soviet Union. This marked the second generation of production vehicles for the enterprise. This started with the Moskvitch 402, followed on by upgraded variants in the form of the Moskvitch 403 and Moskvitch 407, which featured improvements such as independent suspension, improved interior and radio included, comparable to models such as the Hillman Minx, Fiat 1100, and Ford Consul. The Moskvitch 402 series could be considered as the first step in Soviet and Russian automotive history towards producing adapted models for various use cases. While the Moskvitch 407 provided greater driving comfort at larger expenses, other trim levels included the Moskvitch 407-424 station wagon available for the general public, Moskvitch 431 van and even the Moskvitch 410/411 attempt of creating an early off-road sedan/station wagon. The M-407 was the first Soviet automotive export to be truly successful in the West.[3] Up to half of all Moskvitch 407 production was reserved for export, mainly to the Eastern Bloc countries, Norway, Finland, and France.[4]

Third generation

Moskvitch 408
Moskvitch 412

The 1960s bought about a third generation of cars, with the more advanced Moskvitch 408, Moskvitch 412 and Moskvitch 2140. On May 18, 1967, the company produced its one millionth car. The Moskvitch 408 was the first Soviet-built car to be designed with extra safety features in mind, including crumble zones, safer steering column, soft interior parts, seat belts, a padded dashboard, and a split circuit braking system. The first series of Moskvitch 408 cars had vertical rear lights, two or four round headlights, a front bench seat, and a 4-speed manual transmission with column mounted gear lever. The second generation 408 was produced between 1969 and 1976. It had the same engine and transmission as its predecessor, but an updated body fitted with rectangular headlights and horizontal rear lights, with triangular turn signal markers mounted on tailfins. It additionally included separated bucket seats and the transmission used a floor-mounted gear lever. The 408 was popular due to its good value in countries such as the United Kingdom, Finland and Norway. The Moskvitch 412 improved on this design with various engine and styling improvements.

In 1966 during a visit by French President Charles de Gaulle to the Soviet Union, an agreement was signed between MZMA and Renault. Renault would assist in the reconstruction of the plant in Moscow, as well as cooperate in the establishment of a second plant in Izhevsk.

In 1969, both the 412 and the related 408 had their bodies redesigned. These were notable for being the first Moskvitch models to feature rectangular headlights and horizontal rear lights. Safety improvements were also incorporated over time, with the Moskvitch 412 meeting the safety standards adopted by the UNECE, and received an international safety certificate as a result of almost five months of tests in France. The 412 was the first Moskvitch vehicle to pass safety-feature tests in France, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Sweden and West Germany.

In October 1968, the name of the factory was changed from MZMA to Automobile Factory in Honour of the Leninist Communist Youth Union (AZLK) (Russian: Автомобильный Завод имени Ленинского Комсомола), to mark the 50th anniversary of the Komsomol.

SATRA Motors entered M-412s in the Group One Production Saloon Car Championship in 1972 and 1973, where it easily beat "sharp-handling but underpowered" British Hillman Imps and Austin Minis. Further improvements were also made in the form of the Moskvitch 2138 and Moskvitch 2140, based on a modified Moskvitch 412 platform.

Fourth generation


In 1986, the Moskvitch-2141 Aleko became available for the first time. It was influenced by the Simca 1307 (which had also been badged as the Chrysler/Talbot Alpine, and under other names, in western markets). It was upgraded and restyled during the period of its production. It was powered by the 1.5 L UZAM used in the M-412 model and VAZ-2106 1.6 L in-line, four-cylinder engines, which had by then had been used in several LADA models. Aleko was different from any model the factory had made previously; it was larger and more luxurious, made with more comfort, safety, and aerodynamics in mind. The new car had such features as front-wheel drive, a hatchback body style, MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion-crank rear suspension. It had rack-and-pinion steering and a collapsible steering column. The 1.8-liter gasoline engine for the new car was planned, but never materialized, as was also the case with a diesel version. In the early 1990s, AZLK still remained one of the largest auto companies in the USSR. Design and experimental work were prepared to create a new model car (sedan M-2142) and an engine plant. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, due to a financial crisis, disruptions in the work of the company, and financial mismanagement, the engine plant was not finished and the Moskvitch company fell into decline.

OAO Moskvitch


The factory, which had been renamed to OAO Moskvitch (Moskvitch Joint-Stock Company) in the early 1990s, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and ceased production. Unfinished bodyshells remained on the production line in various stages of completion, while furniture, computers, office supplies, and documents remained in the plant's administration building. Several attempts to restart production had been made over the next 3 years, but none were successful.

Technopolis Moscow was opened in 2012 on the premises of the factory.

A portion of the abandoned plant was acquired by Avtoframos (later renamed as Renault Russia), a joint venture between the City of Moscow and French automaker Renault. In 2005, Avtoframos commenced assembly of Renault Logan sedans from imported knock-down kits. It later became a wholly owned subsidiary of Renault.[citation needed]

The bankruptcy of OAO Moskvitch was officially announced in 2006, and the company was liquidated the following year. As of 2016, over a million Moskvitch cars remained on Russian roads.[5]

In 2015, Renault announced they had begun the process for obtaining the Moskvitch rights in Russia.[6]

JSC Automobile Plant Moskvitch


In May 2022, as a result of international sanctions against Russia, Renault sold its Moscow plant to the Moscow city government which intended to nationalize the facility for renewed production of vehicles under the Moskvitch name.[7]

Moskvitch presented its new range of models on July 6, 2022: a sedan and 3 SUVs, Model I having both a fuel version as well as an electric version. The cars have names made up of Roman numerals, from I and II to IV. All models are rebadged cars from Chinese manufacturer JAC.[8]

On October 20, the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, said that the production of Moskvich vehicles will resume in December at Renault's former factory in Moscow,[9] now renamed the Moscow Automobile Factory Moskvich,[10] which has been inactive after Renault decided to leave the Russian market.[11]

On December 26, 2022, the Moskvitch 3 and Moskvitch 3e went on sale in Russia,[12] with the JAC JS4 based cars produced in association with truck manufacturer Kamaz.[13][14]

In early 2023, Moskvitch and Yandex Taxi signed an agreement of intent to supply 3,000 Moskvitch 3, and 2,000 Moskvitch 3e taxi and car share vehicles. This was followed by the introduction of Moskvitch 3 vehicles for the car services Citydrive, BelkaCar, Taxovichkof and Citymobil.[15][16] Furthermore, traffic police in Moscow Oblast and Stavropol Krai began to be equipped with Moskvitch 3e electric crossovers. Furthermore, delivery was in progress for traffic police in Moscow City, Krasnodar and Krasnoyarsk.[17][18]

In June 2023, Hans Peter Moser was appointed General Manager of Moskvitch, replacing Dmitry Valentinovich Pronin, who would move to the position of chairman of the board of directors.[19][20] Moser had previously worked for the Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz, as well as the German industrial firm Knorr-Bremse. In addition, Moskvitch further announced an expansion of their dealer network to more cities across Russia, as well as the impending release of a new Moskvitch 6 model later in 2023, as well as the Moskvitch 5.[21][22][23]



Current models


The current model lines of Moskvitch cars are:

Historic models


Licensed production




The Moskvitch 408 was manufactured in Belgium under the Scaldia name. In 1965, this name was changed to Scaldia-Volga. These vehicles were imported partially built from the Soviet Union, with their engines and transmission installed after arrival in Belgium. Some of these vehicles were equipped with British origin Perkins diesel engines. The Moskvitch 2141 Aleko was also assembled by Scaldia-Volga for a short period of time.



Moskvitch 408, Moskvitch 412, Moskvitch 2140 and Moskvitch 2141 Aleko models were license produced in Lovech, Bulgaria by Balkancar under the Rila marque. Some of these vehicles were identical in configuration to those produced by Moskvitch/AZLK, while some, like their Belgian counterparts, made use of British origin Perkins diesel engines.



See also



  1. ^ Khakimova, Yulia (2023-02-08). "What models made the Moskvich a legendary car? (PHOTOS)". Russia Beyond. Retrieved 2023-07-23.
  2. ^ "German Historical Museum".
  3. ^ Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union (Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2008), p. 87.
  4. ^ Thompson, p. 87.
  5. ^ "Парк легковых автомобилей в России к началу 2016 года вырос умеренно, но 40-миллионный барьер взял" [The car park in Russia grew moderately by the beginning of 2016, but the 40 millionth barrier took]. ООО Автостат ИНФО. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Renault veut relancer la marque Moskvitch" [Renault would like to relaunch the Moskvitch brand]. Auto Plus (in French). 2015-10-14. Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  7. ^ Roth, Andrew (16 May 2022). "Russia to take over Renault's Moscow factory to revive Soviet-era car". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Раскрыта внешность новых "Москвичей"".
  9. ^ "Russia Plans To Relaunch Soviet-Era Car Maker Moskvich In December". Carscoops. October 20, 2022.
  10. ^ "Russia to launch Moskvich car production at former Renault plant in December". Reuters. October 20, 2022 – via www.reuters.com.
  11. ^ "After Two Decades, Moskvich Production To Restart In December". Motor1.com.
  12. ^ "The first Moskvich went on sale". Kommersant. 2022-12-26.
  13. ^ Gauthier, Michael (November 23, 2022). "Soviet-Era Moskvich Returns With A Rebadged Chinese Crossover". Carscoops.
  14. ^ "Russia's new Moskvitch car looks identical to Chinese model". November 24, 2022 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  15. ^ "Crossovers "Moskvich 3" appeared in carsharing "Citydrive"". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  16. ^ "Moskvich crossovers continue to replenish Russian taxi fleets". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  17. ^ "Electric crossovers Moskvich 3e were delivered to the traffic police". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  18. ^ "Кроссоверы "Москвич 3" поступили на службу.. | Омбудсмен полиции | VK". m.vk.com. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  19. ^ "Hans-Peter Moser was appointed General Manager of the Moskvich plant". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  20. ^ "На заводе "Москвич" сменился генеральный директор :". Autonews (in Russian). Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  21. ^ "Automobile plant Moskvich revealed plans for the Moskvich 6 liftback production in 2023". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  22. ^ "Moskvich Automobile Plant will expand its dealer network". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  23. ^ "Automobile plant Moskvich registers a trademark for the new crossover Moskvich 5". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  24. ^ a b "Раскрыты названия новых "Москвичей": это будут перелицованные JAC". motor.ru.
  25. ^ a b c d "Правительство Москвы и КАМАЗ организуют выпуск автомобилей JAC под маркой Москвич". autoreview.ru (in Russian). 2022-07-06. Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  26. ^ "Crossover Moskvich 3 received a limited series of Comfort". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  27. ^ "New Moskvich 5 crossover unveiled". eng.autostat.ru. Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  28. ^ "Кроссовер Москвич 5 станет третьей моделью завода". autoreview.ru (in Russian). 2023-07-03. Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  29. ^ "Лифтбек Москвич 6 станет второй моделью завода". autoreview.ru (in Russian). 2023-04-04. Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  30. ^ "Обновленный JAC A5 Plus: каким станет Москвич 6". autoreview.ru (in Russian). 2023-06-23. Retrieved 2023-07-07.