Moskvitch 3 (based on the Chinese model): For Russia, it was above all a symbolic success
Photo: IMAGO/Anton Novoderezhkin / IMAGO/ITAR-TASS
In 2006 the "Russian Wartburg" went bankrupt, 16 years later the car brand Moskvich is back with a new model.
On Wednesday, the Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz presented the "Moskvich 3", which is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in a former Renault plant in Moscow from December.
The car doesn't have much in common with its predecessor, instead the Moskvich 3 is strongly reminiscent of the crossover "Sehol X4" from the Chinese car manufacturer JAC.
According to information from Reuters, the new Moskvich was built on the same platform as its Asian counterpart, and numerous parts were supplied from China.
Rebirth in former Renault factory
The revival of the Soviet classic is also a result of the war in Ukraine.
Car maker Renault stopped doing business in Russia after Putin's attack on Ukraine.
All shares in Renault Russia would be sold to the city of Moscow, the stake in the Russian manufacturer Avtovaz would go to the Central Institute for the Development of Automobiles and Engines (Nami), as Renault Director General
Luca de Meo
(54) said in May.
According to Reuters, both the Renault factory in Moscow and the stake in Avtovaz were sold for one ruble each, although Renault secured a buyback right within six years.
Shortly thereafter, Moscow Mayor
(63) announced in the "Moscow Times" that he wanted to resume production at Moscow's former Renault plant under the historic Moskvich brand.
The factory was renamed "Moscow Moskvich Automobile Plant".
The fact that the tapes in the factory are running again under Russian direction is above all a symbolic act.
A lot of symbolism, but no game changer
The new Moskvitch is unlikely to be a real game changer for the starving Russian auto industry.
No more than 600 Moskvich 3 models are expected to roll off the assembly line this year.
Russia's auto industry is expected to sell fewer than a million vehicles this year - the lowest it has been in more than 50 years.
Even the Russian government's goal of producing 100,000 Moskvichs a year (some of them electric) falls short of the usual production figures for a car factory.
For comparison: Tesla produces around 22,000 vehicles per week in Shanghai.
The first Moskvich 3 should roll off the line from December, as Avtovaz and technology partner Kamaz explained on Wednesday.
The challenge for Russian automakers remains to build new supply chains with local components as the old ones collapsed due to Western sanctions.
The local supply chains should be in place by the end of 2023, promised Trade Minister
At full capacity, the Moskvitch plant is expected to create jobs for around 40,000 people.