Russia Restarts Production of Moskvich Cars

Russia Restarts Production of Moskvich Cars

Der Spiegel: Western sanctions have restarted production of iconic car in Russia

Twenty years ago, the production of Moskvich cars in Russia was stopped, the model was considered uncompetitive, Der Spiegel writes. And now the iconic car will be produced again, not least due to Western sanctions.

The production of a new model of the iconic Soviet Moskvich car has started in Moscow, after the Russian car industry came under pressure from Western sanctions. Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov and Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin attended the opening of the revived Moskvich plant, which was abandoned by its former owner, Renault. The Moskvich-3 will be a copy of the Chinese urban crossover JAC JS 4.

At the initial stage, a version with a 150 hp petrol engine will be produced in Russia. But as stated before, until the end of the year a variant with electric motor will roll off the assembly line. Sales are due to start in the first quarter of 2023.

“The task for the near future is to set up small-unit assembly processes with local suppliers by the end of 2023,” Industry and Trade Minister Manturov said.

The Russian Industry Ministry said Moskvich’s production would provide 40,000 jobs in Russia. The automotive industry is one of the industries that has been hit hardest by sanctions imposed by Western states over Russia’s special operation in Ukraine. After Western carmakers left the country, sales of new cars fell 60 per cent between January and October compared with the same period last year.

The Moskvich had been produced in the Soviet Union since 1946 and was originally a copy of the German Opel Kadett. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the plant found itself in a difficult financial situation. Production of the last production model of the Moskvich 2121 (the Svyatogor) was discontinued in 2001, as it was found to be uncompetitive. In 2006, a process was launched to declare the concern insolvent. The factory was later bought by the Renault concern, preserving jobs.

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