Russia revives Soviet-era car brand in abandoned Renault factory

The Soviet-era Moskvitch brand is set to be relaunched, following Renault’s decision to offload its Russian operations.

Russia set to nationalize and take control of factory owned by French automaker Renaultand will revive the famous Moskvitch car brand from the Soviet era.

The moving, reported by the independent Moscow time, is the first major nationalization of a former foreign entity since the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The move follows previous threats by the government to nationalize foreign companies that chose to exit the Russian market because of the war.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin written on his personal website“The foreign owner has decided to close the Renault factory in Moscow. It is his right, but we cannot leave thousands of workers out of work.

“Therefore, I decided to bring the factory back to the city balance and resume production of passenger cars under the historic Moskvitch brand.”

Sobayanin promised to keep “most of the team working directly at the factory and with its contractors”.

He also outlined a revived business plan that would see the state-owned plant produce cars with an internal combustion engine as well as electric cars at some undetermined point in the future as part of the Russian automaker’s technology partnership. of trucks and engines, Kamaz.

“In addition, together with Kamaz and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, we are working on localizing the production of the maximum number of automotive components in Russia,” he wrote.

“The Volgogradsky Prospekt Automobile Plant has a long and glorious history. Almost a hundred years ago it started with the production of Ford cars. For decades, the legendary domestic “Moskvitches” were produced here.

Since 1998, the plant has been cooperating with Renault, and Logans, Dusters and Sanderos rolled off its assembly line. In 2022 we will open a new page in the history of Moskvitch.

Renault confirmed on Monday that it has sold its 67.69% stake in Avtovaz as well as its 100% stake in Renault Russia to Russia’s Central Research and Development Institute for Automobiles and Engines, also known as Nami. .

According to well-placed sources quoted by Reutersboth entities were sold to the state for a nominal amount of one ruble each (0.02 Australian cents) with a six-year buyout option for Renault.

“Today we have taken a difficult but necessary decision, and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45,000 employees in Russia,” said Renault CEO Luca de Meo.

Despite the asset write-down of around $2.2 billion (A$3.15 billion), Meo added that the French automaker would not rule out a return to the Russian market.

In 2021, Renault manufactured around 20% of all new cars sold in Russia, through its Renault and Lada brands.

Moskvitch started making cars in 1929, ceasing production in 2001.

Following the collapse of communism and the influx of Western automakers, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Popular models include the 1980s Moskvitch 1500.

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the automotive industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while writing in-depth feature articles on cars and automakers of historical significance. He also enjoys discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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