Industry > Business

Moscow mayor eyes return of Soviet-era car brand

As government takes over vehicle factory once owned by Renault

Have you heard of the Moskvich car brand? PHOTO FROM RM SOTHEBY'S

While the Russian government continues to paint a rosy picture of its military campaign in Ukraine, the country’s economic condition is anything but promising. The large-scale exodus of foreign-owned companies has left many people jobless and is forcing various industries to prepare for a future that isn’t very different from the days of the Cold War.

One example is a recent statement by Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin about the nationalization of a car factory located in his city. According to this Reuters report, this facility used to be owned by Renault. The French automaker decided to let go of its stake in AvtoVAZ, a vehicle manufacturer that dates back to the days of the Soviet Union.

Prior to the collapse of the USSR, the Moscow factory was the production site for Moskvich cars. The word moskvich roughly translates to “a Moscow native,” and the brand was one of several state-owned entities that produced vehicles for government officials and elite party members. The company was privatized following the dissolution of the country, and it declared bankruptcy almost two decades ago.

While Sobyanin is quite enthusiastic about the return of Moskvich, industry analysts are saying that it will take at least two years and $1 billion (P52.4 billion) to develop a new car from scratch. And if economic sanctions against Russia continue, that means sourcing as many components as possible from local suppliers.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.