Russia revives Soviet-era Moskvich brand with Chinese model

  • This content was produced in Russia, where the law limits coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Nov 23 (Reuters) – After a two-decade hiatus, Russia on Wednesday launched production of the Moskvich car brand at a factory near Moscow abandoned by French automaker Renault, with a modern new Chinese design that resembles hardly to the Soviet model. – classical period.

While the last Moskvich (“Muscovite”) was a basic three-box sedan or pedestrian hatchback, the Moskvich 3 is a muscular gas hatchback crossover with alloy wheels, LED slot headlights and a large screen central touch.

In fact, the car looks identical to the Sehol X4 compact crossover made by Chinese JAC, also known as JAC JS4.

Sources told Reuters that JAC’s design, engineering and platform were used, parts were delivered from China, and vehicles shown at the launch displayed numerous JAC stickers bearing part codes.

However, Maxim Klyushkin, the plant’s project manager, refused to confirm that the Chinese company was Moskvich’s partner.

“We have (Russian truck maker) Kamaz as an external partner and we have a long-distance partner we work with,” he said. “We are not naming this partner.”

Klyushkin said the car would be fitted with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), one of the features Russia’s Avtovaz was forced to drop from Lada models due to Western trade sanctions imposed in response to the military campaign of Moscow in Ukraine.

Renault (RENA.PA) sold its controlling stake in Avtovaz in May to the Russian state for just one ruble, but with a six-year buyout option. She sold her factory, now renamed Moscow Automobile Factory Moskvich, for another ruble.

LOWER CAR SALES

With just 600 vehicles slated for production this year, the new car is unlikely to alter the bleak outlook for the wider industry, whose annual sales could end the year below 1 million for the first time in Europe. modern Russian history.

The government’s ultimate goal of producing 100,000 Moskvich vehicles a year, some of which will be electric, is well below the industry average for a 200,000 to 300,000 car factory. Tesla makes 22,000 cars a week in its Shanghai factory.

“The first Moskvich cars will roll off the production line in December 2022”, Kamaz (KMAZ.MM) said in a statement.

Western sanctions over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine not only hindered access to foreign-made components, but also helped drive out foreign manufacturers.

Kamaz and the government established new supply chains, but did not disclose details.

“The task in the near future is to establish processes for assembling small nodes with the participation of local suppliers by the end of 2023,” Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in a statement. a statement.

The ministry said the launch of large-scale production would create jobs for around 40,000 additional people. The car will go on sale in Russia next month, he added, although pricing has not yet been disclosed. President Vladimir Putin last week urged automakers to keep prices low.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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