AZLK

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AZLK
Type Government-owned
Industry Automotive
Fate Closed in 2010
Successors Moskvitch OAO
Founded 1929
Headquarters Moscow, Russia
Products cars, SUVs, light trucks, war machines, small buses
Website www.azlk.ru

AZLK (АЗЛК - Автомобильный завод имени Ленинского Комсомола in Russian, Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola) was a Russian automobile factory (Moscow), the maker of the Moskvitch brand.

History[edit]

Founded in 1929 as KIM, or Communist Youth International, the plant became MZMA (Moscow Small Car Factory) in 1939, before finally changing its name to the more familiar Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola (AZLK), literally "Leninist Communist Youth League Automobile Factory" in 1969.

Beginning in 1939, the factory's passenger cars were sold under the Moskvitch ("Muscovite") brand. The plant was originally under the authority of Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ – Gorky Automobile Factory) founded at about the same time, but by 1939 it was operationally independent.

AZLK's role under the Soviet system was the production of small cars, which could be classified as anywhere from compact to mid-size. AvtoVAZ and IZh were also charged with producing vehicles in the same category as AZLK, while GAZ handled the large car and full-size segment.

Following privatization in 1991, AZLK adopted Moskvitch as its corporate name, as it had already been used on all of the company's cars dating to 1939.

1929-1941[edit]

The construction of the plant called Moscow Car Assembly Factory (Russian: Московский автосборочный завод) began in 1929. In 1930 the production of Ford A and Ford AA from parts that were provided by Ford Motor Company began. In December 1930 the plant was named KIM (Zavod imeni Kommunsticheskogo Internatsionala Molodezhy, Russian: КИМ (Завод имени Коммунистического Интернационала Молодежи) - Communist Youth International, literally "Factory named after Communist Youth International"), from 1930 to 1939 its official name was Moscow Car Assembly Factory named after KIM (Московский автосборочный завод имени КИМ) and then from 1939 until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War it was called Moscow Car Factory named after KIM (Московский автомобильный завод имени КИМ). In 1933 the production of Ford A and Ford AA ceased. On August 1, 1933, the factory became a subsidiary of GAZ and produced GAZ AA using parts from GAZ. In 1939 KIM was no longer the subsidiary of GAZ. In 1940 KIM started to produce their first own model, the KIM 10-50 (two-door saloon) based on the Ford Prefect. There was also a convertible named KIM 10-51. Around 500 cars both KIM 10-50 and KIM 10-51 were made before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. In the early 1941 approximately 2 prototypes of KIM 10-52 were built. It was a four-door saloon which was the major difference between KIM 10-52 and KIM 10-50. There were plans for mass production of this car but they were interrupted by the beginning of the war.

Post-war years[edit]

In May 1945 the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR adopted a decision on the production of small cars "Moskvich". The plant was renamed into the "Small car plant" (PCA), and later again renamed to "Moscow plant of small cars" (MZMA). In 1947 the plant started the serial production of "Moskvich-400" passenger car. This model was developed, based on the German Opel Kadett. In 1954 MZMA started to produce the Moskvich 401.

On 18 May 1967, the company produced its one millionth car.[1] The same year, the first Moskvitch 412 appeared.[2]

The name was changed from MZMA to AZLK in October 1968 in honor of Lenin Komsomol '​s fiftieth anniversary.[3]

During the 1960s, AZLK proposed the 415 and 416 four-wheel drive vehicles. They were not proceded with, either.[4]

In 1970, AZLK tried to update the 412's styling, with the 353. Using 412 mechanicals, it was larger but recognizably related. The 355 of 1972 was larger still, with 23 cm (9.1 in) greater length, 14 cm (5.5 in) more wheelbase, and 8 cm (3.1 in) more width.[5] This made both the interior and the boot noticeably larger.[6] The 355 was further developed into the 356 between 1973-75, with "much bolder front end styling", new suspension, and an enlarged 1,799 cc (109.8 cu in) version of the DM engine with twin Zenith carburetors, giving 103 hp (77 kW; 104 PS), with a Borg-Warner transmission planned.[7] 1600cc and 1700cc engines were also planned. None was built.[8]

AZLK in August 1974 sold its two millionth unit.[9]

To respond to the growing impression of the 408 and 412 as dated,.[10] Moskvitch in 1975 designed a four-door fastback C1 (Series One), which strongly resembled the contemporary SAAB 900, with a 1,702 cc (103.9 cu in) version of the DM straight four, offering 81 hp (60 kW; 82 PS), to give a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h).[11] Unlike the 412, it had McPherson struts in front and independent trailing arms in back.[12] It did not reach the company's goals and was never built, but it inspired the four door C2 in 1976, which never passed the mockup stage, and the C3, which was very similar but a five-door hatchback.[13] The engine would have been fitted at an angle from the vertical (like the Chrysler slant six).[14] None of these projects reached production.[15]

The 408 and 412 were discontinued in December 1975, replaced by facelifted variants, the 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) 1,358 cc (82.9 cu in) 2138 (for export, the 1300) and 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS) 1,478 cc (90.2 cu in) 2140 (for export, 1500), which entered production the next month.[16] In fact, the 2138 and 2140 were built in stages: 412 bodies with the boot lid, rear wings, and tail of the 2140; then 2140 bodies with 412 doors; then, early in 1976, all-2140.[17] These "hybrid" models are now very rare.[18] The 21381 and 21401 were offered as in ambulance models, also, as well as the right-hand drive 21402.[19] In addition, there was a "rural" 21406, with a low-compression 68 hp (51 kW; 69 PS) engine.[20] (This same engine, in the standard model, earned the designation 2140D.[21])

They were joined in 1976 by the 1,358 cc (82.9 cu in)-powered 2136 and 1,478 cc (90.2 cu in)-engined 2137 estate; because Soviet buyers disliked estates, these were sold in much smaller numbers, the 2136 surviving only until 1977.[22] There were also two sedan delivery variants, the 2733 (1,358 cc (82.9 cu in)) and 2734 (1,478 cc (90.2 cu in)).[23] A small number of pickups (27334 and 27344, with (1,358 cc (82.9 cu in)) and (1,478 cc (90.2 cu in)), respectively); these did not last long, either.[24] By the 1980s, the deliveries had virtually disappeared, as well, because AZLK simply could not keep up with demand for saloons.[25]

The 2138 and 2140 would be the end for the Moskvitch exports, unable to compete with the new Lada after the end of 1977, though Belgium and Finland continued to be markets (with sales under the Scaldia marque) for a few more years.[26]

Post-Soviet period[edit]

In the early 1990s AZLK still remained one of the largest auto companies in the USSR. Design and experimental work was prepared to create a new model car (sedan M-2142) and an engine plant.

However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic turmoil plant was in a state of crisis. Because of its location, the plant was in a more vulnerable position than companies located in other regions, as the cost of living and car production in Moscow began to grow rapidly.

The plant ceased production of cars in 2001. In subsequent years, all process equipment, process documentation, and even infrastructural equipment of the plant were completely lost. It was finally closed in 2010.

Alternative names[edit]

  • Moskvitch Stock Venture (from 1991 until bankruptcy in 2002)
  • АО Москвич (from 1991 until bankruptcy in 2002, in Russian)
  • AZLK (from 1969 until 1991, abbreviation using Latin alphabet)
  • АЗЛК (from 1969 until 1991, in Russian; the abbreviation means Lenin Youth Communist Car Factory)
  • MZMA (from 1949 until 1969, abbreviation using Latin alphabet)
  • МЗМА (from 1949 until 1969, in Russian; the abbreviation means Moscow Small Car Factory)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union (Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2008), p.139.
  2. ^ Thompson, p.149.
  3. ^ Thompson, p.151.
  4. ^ Thompson, p.163.
  5. ^ Thompson, p.164.
  6. ^ Thompson, p.164.
  7. ^ Thompson, p.164.
  8. ^ Thompson, p.164.
  9. ^ Thompson, p.168.
  10. ^ Thompson, p.168.
  11. ^ Thompson, p.167.
  12. ^ Thompson, p.167.
  13. ^ Thompson, p.167.
  14. ^ Thompson, p.168.
  15. ^ Thompson, p.164.
  16. ^ Thompson, p.168.
  17. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  18. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  19. ^ Thompson, p.171.
  20. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  21. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  22. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  23. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  24. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  25. ^ Thompson, p.170.
  26. ^ Thompson, p.171.

External links[edit]