Return Of The Moskvitch

By The Thornical Press Staff

October 21, 2022

A throwback from the Soviet era is making a comeback on Russian roads in the near future.  The Moskvitch is expected to be back in production by December after nearly two decades off the production line.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin made the announcement on Thursday that Moskvitch models will roll off the former Renault assembly line in the next two months.  Six months ago Renault sold the factory to the Russian state for one ruble with an option to repurchase the factory within six years.  The new plant will be named the Moscow Automobile Factory.  Moskvitch representatives expect to manufacture 600 cars in December with the hope of 50,000 cars in 2023.

Moskvitch-M400, Photo: Sergey Rodovnichenko

The Moskvitch model was produced by Soviet automobile manufacturer AZLK (Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola), nee MZMA,  from 1946 to 1991 and by the private venture OAO Moskvitch from 1991 to 2001.

Moskvitch M412, 1967-1982. Photo: Sergey Korovkin 84

After the Second World War the Soviet Union “acquired” an Opel manufacturing line from Brandenburg, Germany, then under Soviet occupation and started production of a modified Opel Kadett rebranded as the Moskvitch M400 in December 1946.  Succeeding model generations, designed by Soviet engineers, included the Moskvitch M402, M407, M410, M412, and M2142.

Opel Kadett Cabrio, 1937-1940. Photo: חזרתי

Although AZLK was one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the Soviet Union, it would face a steep decline after the communist collapse in 1991.  A privatized version of the company known as OAO Moskvitch would extend production into the Russian Federation era from 1991 to 2002, but would later file for bankruptcy in 2002.  

Moskovitch M2142, 1991-2002. Photo: Artem Svetlov

Feature Photo: Petrenkoas83