Moskvitch: Wikis


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For other uses see: Moskvitch (disambiguation)
OAO Moskvitch
Type Joint-stock
Fate Bankrupt since 2002
Dissolved in 2006
Predecessor AZLK
Successor None. Partial recuperation of former production factories by Avtoframos (Russian subsidiary of Renault) since 2008
Founded 1991
Headquarters Moscow, Russia
Industry Automotive
Products cars
Website Official OAO "Moskvich" Website

Moskvitch (Russian: Москвич) (sometimes also written as Moskvich or Moskwitch) was an automobile brand from Russia produced by AZLK from 1945 to 1991 and by OAO Moskvitch from 1991 to 2002. The current article incorporates information about both the brand and the joint-stock successor of AZLK for the sake of simplicity.

OAO Moskvitch was a privatized venture name given to the former factory in order to avoid legal issues after the fall 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 Lower Eastern part of Moscow and abandoned since 2006.

The word moskvitch (Russian: москвич) itself translates as "(a) Muscovite" into English. It was used to point out the original location of the cars manufactured outside of Moscow.


Early history

In 1929 the construction of Moscow Automotive Plant began with initial production of 24,000 vehicles. In 1941 the plant was evacuated to Ural and the entire production converted for the manufacture of the military equipment at the dawn of World War II. After the war, the USSR brought an entire Opel manufacturing line from Brandenburg in Germany. A factory called MZMA (Moskovsky Zavod Malolitrazhnykh Avtomobiley, that is, Moscow Compact Car Factory) started in 1947 to manufacture an automobile called Moskvitch 400 based on the Opel Kadett. Further models were developed by Soviet engineers. In 1969, the factory changed name to AZLK (Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola, which means Youth Communist League Car Factory).

Moskvitch cars were never meant to be a fashion statement. They were sturdy, reliable on substandard roads and were offered at an affordable price. The 1960s and early 1970s were the glory days, when the cars were exported to many countries throughout the world. Demand always exceeded production, so people had to wait a long time for a new car. Until the 1980s all Moskvitch cars were compact rear-wheel drive saloons and estates with solid rear axles suspended by leaf springs.

The Moskvitch was also produced in Bulgaria (see Moskvitch (Bulgaria)) between 1966 and 1990 on the basis of complete knock down (CKD) kits.

Introduction of the Aleko

In 1986 AZLK unveiled its new model, Aleko-141. The only part carried over from previous models was the engine. This front-wheel drive hatchback was different from any model the factory had made before. It was larger and upmarket, made with comfort, safety and aerodynamics in mind. The body was built on the basis of Simca 1307, while longitudinal engine placement and torsion-crank rear suspension and McPherson strut front suspension was inspired by Audi 80/100 cars and the larger size of the Moskvitch and Lada engines which ones were used on the car. The construction of the new 1,8 liter petrol engine for the car delayed and was not never completed. The car was an improvement over the previous generation, but the fall of the centralised economy, below-par quality and inadequate management ultimately brought the factory to bankruptcy.

The factory, which had been renamed to OAO Moskvitch (Moskvitch Joint Stock Company) in the early 1990s, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and shut down all production. The factory remains idle and abandoned, everything left as it was in 2002. Unfinished bodyshells remain on the production line in various stages of completion, and furniture, computers, office supplies, and documents remain in the plant's administration building. Several attempts to restart production have been made over the next 3 years, but to no avail.

Recently, a portion of the disused Moskvitch plant has been acquired by OAO Avtoframos, a 38%-62% joint venture between the City of Moscow and French automaker Renault SA respectively. In 2005, Avtoframos commenced assembly of Renault Logan sedans from imported complete knock-down kits (CKDs). The presence of Avtoframos means that at least part of the Moskvitch plant is active once again, but the majority of the sprawling plant remains abandoned, apparently still owned by the dormant Moskvitch company.

The bankruptcy of OAO Moskvitch was officially announced in 2006 and it was disposed of in 2007.



First (1945—1956)

Moskvitch-400, nearly a copy of the Kadett K38
  • Moskvitch 400/420 (1946)
  • Moskvitch 400/422 ("woodie" station wagon version of 400) (1949)
  • Moskvitch 401/420 (1954)
  • Moskvitch 401/422 ("woodie" station wagon version of 401) (1954)
  • Moskvitch 401/420 (4-door convertible, was priced below closed models, but anyway was not popular) (1949-52)

Second (1956—1965)

Third (1965—1986)

  • Moskvitch 408 (1964)
  • Moskvitch 426 (station wagon version of 408) (1966)
  • Moskvitch 412 (1967) (latterly known as a Moskvitch 1500 for the Western export market)
  • Moskvitch 427 (station wagon version of 412) (1967)
  • Moskvitch 1360 (1970)
  • Moskvitch 1500 (1970)
  • Moskvitch 2136 (1976)
  • Moskvitch 2137 (1976)
  • Moskvitch 2138 (1976)
  • Moskvitch 2140 (1976) (carried on the scheme of using the Moskvitch 1500 name for Western exports)
  • Moskvitch 2140SL (1981) (Improved 2140, Super Lux was made for foreign markets)

Fourth (1986-2002)

Sport and racing cars


See also

External links


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