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Moskvitch (Russian: Москвич) (sometimes also mentioned as Moskvich or Moskwitch, which means Muscovite) is an now former automobile brand from Russia.
After World War II the Soviet Union brought the entire Opel manufacturing line from Rüsselsheim 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 using in their development differnt cars fom different manufacturers fom the rest of the world. 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, good on substandard roads and were offered at an very affordable price on forign markets. For example, in England Moskvich-412 was sold with price near the price of Morris Mini car. 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 sedans and station wagons with solid rear axle suspended with leaf springs.
The Moskvitch was also produced in Bulgaria (see Moskvitch (Bulgaria)) between 1966 and 1990 on the basis of complete knockdown (CKD) kits.
In 1986 AZLK unveiled its new model, Aleko-141. The only part carried over from previous models was the engine and some other minor parts. This front-wheel drive hatchback was different from any model the factory had made before. It was larger and upscale, made with comfort, safety and aerodynamics in mind. The body was partly copied from Simca 1307/1308, while longitudinal engine placement, transmission, front wheel suspension and torsion-crank rear suspension was inspired by Audi 80 / 100 cars. The car was a definite improvement over the previous generation, but the fall of the centralized economy, subpar 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, shut down all production in 2002 and the final official bankruptcy was announced in 2007. The factory remained idle and abandoned in 2002, everything left as it was in 2002. Unfinished bodyshells remained on the production line in various stages of completion, and furniture, computers, office supplies, and documents remained in the plant's administration building.
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 first platform
- Moskvitch 400/420 (1946)
- Moskvitch 401/420 (1954)
- Moskvitch 400/422 ("woodie" station wagon version of 400) (1949)
- Moskvitch 401/422 ("woodie" station wagon version of 401) (1954)
The second platform
- Moskvitch 402 (1956)
- Moskvitch 403 (1962)
- Moskvitch 410 (four wheel drive version of 402) (1957)
- Moskvitch 411 (station wagon version of 410) (1958)
- Moskvitch 407 (1958)
- 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 2136
- Moskvitch 2137
- Moskvitch 2138
- Moskvitch 2140 (carried on the scheme of using the Moskvitch 1500 name for Western exports)
- Moskvitch 2140SL (1981) (Improved 2140, Super Lux was made for an export)
The third platform
- Moskvitch 2141 Aleko (1986)
- Moskvitch 2142
- Kalita (named after Ivan Kalita, a 14th century Russian prince)
- Svjatogor (a name taken from Russian mythology)
- Dolgorukij (named after Yuri Dolgoruki, founder of Moscow)
- Knjaz Vladimir (named after Prince Vladimir)
Sport and racing cars
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