Categories: News

Moskvitch 3: a Chinese SUV for the former Renault factory in Moscow

Sold by the manufacturer for a symbolic rouble, the former Renault site of Avtoframos in Moscow would now assemble Moskviches! A Soviet brand that disappeared in 2001, whose revival goes through Chinese JAC SUVs imported in kits…

The Russian car market never stops falling. Since the sanctions against Russia, new car sales slumped and car production fell sharply. In one year, from October 2021 to October 2022, the market collapsed by 63%. Manufacturers of tires, spare parts, and foreign car manufacturers have limited or even stopped their activities in the country. Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Mazda have all closed their factoriesand slammed the door of the largest country in the world. Renaultof which Russia was after France second largest market, sold its factories in Moscow, Togliatti and Izhevsk for a symbolic ruble. Striking image: last May technicians knocked down the letters RENAULT from the front of the Moscow factory of Avtoframos, one of Renault’s main sites in Russia.

The return of an iconic brand

Where have we been since? After several months of uncertainty as for the future of the site, it is to everyone’s surprise that production would have resumed, with branded models… Moskvitch ! A name that takes us back to the golden age of Soviet Union. When the country had several major national manufacturers. Lada, Izh et Moskvitch for the entry level, GAZ for the mid-range. said (then ZiL on the death of Stalin) for the top of the range. Moskvitch started production in 1945 with the 400, which was just a Opel Kadett rebadged for the local market. The brand experienced its heyday in the 60s and 70s, then declined in the 80s. It produced cars until 2001, and disappeared in 2006. At least, that’s what we thought, now that she seems to be back!

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Chinese SUVs for Russian “production”

And these announcements urge cautionit is because the announced “great comeback” of Moskvitch only results in JAC Chinese SUV assembly, stamped with the Moskvitch logo. No significant revolution or novelty therefore. Especially since with the lack of parts supply on the Russian market, it seems hard to believe that these models could have been produced locally. This is at worst Chinese importsat best a kit assembly from imported Chinese parts. The manufacturer has already announced a potential future model, with the Moskvitch Race. It will be a JAC Nowhere Yao assembled under licence. Ironically, the Moskvitch models will come out of an old Renault plant. While the manufacturer was the majority shareholder until May d’AvtoVAZ-LadaMoskvitch’s great historical competitor.

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