23 Nov 2022 17:02

Moskvich automobile plant starts SKD assembly of cars

MOSCOW. Nov 23 (Interfax) - The Moskvich Automobile Plant, which used to be known as ZAO Renault Russia before the French auto manufacturer left the country, has relaunched production by starting serial semi-knock down assembly of the Moskvich 3 crossover with a gasoline engine, an Interfax correspondent reports.

The opening of the enterprise, which was transferred to the city of Moscow following Renault's departure, took place with Deputy Prime Minister and Russia's Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, and Sergei Kogogin, General Director of Kamaz , the project's technology partner, in attendance.

The first model to come off the line was the Moskvich 3, with a gasoline turbo engine (1.5 l, 150 hp, 210 N/m) and CVT automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox. Sales of the car are due to begin in Moscow by the end of this year and throughout Russia in Q3 2023.

The Industry and Trade said the plant would also start to produce electric cars by the end of the year.

Two vehicle type approvals (VTA) were displayed in the Rosstandart database earlier in November: one for the aforementioned Moskvich 3 crossover with a gasoline engine, and the other for the Moskvich 3e electric crossover. According to the published documentation, the cars are variants of the Chinese JAC models, JS4 and iEVS4, respectively.

"The Moskvich plant's priority will be to produce electric cars on its own platform with a gradual increase in localization of components. SKD assembly of the Moskvich 3 car and electric vehicles is launched in 2022. The short-term task is to launch CKD assembly with the involvement of local suppliers by the end of 2023. The next step will be the creation of our own universal platform for a domestic electric vehicle, due to go into production at the end of 2025," the ministry quoted Manturov as saying.

It said the launch of full-scale production at the Moskvich site would create around 40,000 jobs.

"The enterprise swiftly launched production and established logistics chains following the foreign partner's departure. This became possible thanks to a cooperation agreement with the technology partner Kamaz, as part of which a six-year development strategy for the plant was developed," the ministry said.

French automaker Renault, which had owned the Moscow auto plant since 1998, announced in March 2022 that it was closing the plant and leaving the Russian market. The CJSC Renault Russia plant, capable of producing 180,000 cars per year, was handed over to the Moscow city government in May and renamed JSC Moskvich Moscow Automobile Plant in June. The city signed an agreement with Kamaz at the end of July.

The agreement, posted on city hall's website at the beginning of August, provides that a 50% stake in the plant, which is now wholly owned by Moscow, can be transferred to Kamaz or an "affiliated or other party proposed by them under a share purchase-sale contract." The co-owners of the plant are also supposed to sign a shareholder agreement by this date. The agreement also specifies that at least 600 automobiles will be produced at the plant by the end of this year, including 200 electric vehicles. In 2023, the plant is supposed to produce at least 50,000 cars, including 10,000 electric vehicles, and by the end of 2024 it is supposed to be producing at least 100,000 vehicles per year, including 20,000 electric cars. Moskvich plans to establish CKD assembly by 2025.

Kamaz said in a press release of its own that production at the Moskvich plant would be relaunched in three stages. The first stage will involve establishing new supply chains and launching direct knock down assembly in conjunction with Kamaz.

In the second stage, from 2024, CKD will begin in parallel with SKD, and the level of localization will increase by attracting a pool of local suppliers with components like body parts, power controls, brake systems and others localized in Russia.

The third stage is for the launch of a Russian electric car from domestic components on its own universal platform - electric motor, batteries, gearbox - the development of which is already underway.