Russia will revive the “legendary” Soviet-era Moskvich in the Renault plant.
The Renault plant in Moscow will be reused to produce Moskvich cars that were last manufactured two decades ago.
A Soviet-era car brand, “Moskvich”, could have a spectacular return to Russia as Moscow takes over Renault’s assets after the French manufacturer leaves the country.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said he will nationalize the city’s Renault car factory after the Western carmaker said it was selling its local business after the conflict broke out in Ukraine.
The factory, which Sobyanin said had a “long and glorious history,” will be reused to produce the Moskvich brand of passenger cars.
“The foreign owner has decided to close the Renault plant in Moscow. He has the right to do so, but we cannot allow thousands of workers to lose their jobs, “Sobyanin said on his blog. “In 2022, we will open a new page in Moskvich’s history.”
Moskvich, meaning “a native of Moscow,” was first manufactured in the Soviet Union and designed to be a rugged, affordable passenger car with parts made in communist Russia and East Germany.
Made in Russia
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the car manufacturer was privatized and later declared bankrupt.
Nearly 200,000 Moskvich cars are still registered in Russia, including 46,000 over the age of 35, according to the Autostat analysis agency.
For Sobyanin, who called the car “legendary,” Moskvich’s return could prove virtually difficult, said Autostat chief Sergei Tselikov.
“It takes at least two years and at least $ 1 billion to develop a new car,” Tselikov said when asked about plans to revive the Soviet-era brand.
Sobyanin said the revived plant in Moscow would initially produce conventional cars with combustion engines, but would produce electric cars in the future.
He said he was working with Russia’s Ministry of Commerce to procure as many Russian car parts as possible and that Russian truck maker Kamaz would act as the plant’s main technology partner.
In a statement, Kamaz said that although he supports the mayor’s decision, the issues of technological cooperation are still under discussion and will make a formal statement once these issues are resolved.