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Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant
Type Subsidiary
Industry Automotive
Founded 1923
Founder(s) Soviet Union
Headquarters Zaporizhia, Ukraine
Area served International
Products Cars, vans, buses
Revenue Increase 12.95 billion (UAH)
Net income Increase 564 million (UAH)
Parent UkrAVTO

ZAZ or Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant (Ukrainian: ЗАЗ, Запорізький автомобілебудівельний завод, Zaporiz'kyi avtomobilebudivnyi zavod or Zaporiz'kyi avtozavod) is the main automobile manufacturer of Ukraine, based in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhia. It is also known for its former mother company name, AvtoZAZ.


ZAZ-965 Zaporozhets
ZAZ-968 Zaporozhets
ZAZ-968 M Zaporozhets
ZAZ-1102 Tavria
ZAZ-1103 Slavuta
ZAZ-11055 Tavria Pick-up
ZAZ Sens (Daewoo Lanos)
ZAZ Forza (Chery A13)
Chevrolet Aveo (ZAZ Vida)

From A. J. Koop to Kommunar[edit]

After a nationalization the state transformed a privately held factory of the A. J. Koop company into the state-operated Kommunar factory which continued to produce combine harvesters. The factory had been built for local Mennonite industrialist Abraham J. Koop in 1863. It produced iron parts for the windmills, reapers, threshers and plows. In 1930 Kommunar started to produce the first Soviet harvester Kommunar which was based on the American Holt Caterpillar horse-drawn harvester. The production of the harvester allowed the Soviet Union to cease import of harvesters from abroad.

From harvesters to cars[edit]

In November 1958 the Soviet government decided to change profile and start production of small popular cars, changing the name to ZAZ - Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant in order to reflect the new profile.[1] The Zaporizhia factory was supplemented with the Mikoyan Diesel-Building Factory in Melitopol which was part of the Soyuzdiesel combinat. After transferring Melitopol factory it changed its name to the Melitopol Motor Factory (MeMZ).

The first car, designed in Moskvitch factory, was ZAZ-965 Zaporozhets and entered production in 1960.[1] The models named "Zaporozhets" were powered by an air-cooled rear mounted V4 engine made by MeMZ (based in neighboring Melitopol'). The body of earlier models 965 was similar to the Fiat 600 and was nicknamed Humpback Zaporozhets. The redesigned 966 and 968 looked more like a NSU Prinz. Despite low reliability and prestige of those cars, they have shown an unbeaten accessibility and popularity among Soviets, becoming the "car for pensioners and intellectuals". They were the cheapest Soviet-made cars. Quite a big number was produced in variants for disabled people, with modified steering.[1] 3,422,444 Zaporozhets vehicles were manufactured and powered by air-cooled engines from the Melitopol factory from 1960 to 1994.[2]

Further growth in Ukraine[edit]

In 1975 the factory was consolidated in the AvtoZAZ holding, which was transformed into joint-stock company in 1990s. In 1986 ZAZ together with Comau installed a new production complex. The Illichivsk factory of automobile parts (IZAA) in one of the biggest freight sea ports on Black Sea in Illichivsk became part of the AutoZAZ holding. Newer front wheel drive cars are based on model 1102 Tavria (1989–2007) and are powered by a water cooled, front mounted MeMZ engine and fall into micro-class. On June 1, 1994 the factory ceased production of its 968M model.

When AvtoZAZ-Daewoo joint venture with Daewoo Motors was formed in 1998, ZAZ was assigned to the new company as a 50% share on behalf of AvtoZAZ. Daewoo Motors made large investments and established the production of its own models, while keeping and modernizing the native ZAZ brand. CKD kits of Daewoo Lanos started assembling the same year in Illichivsk; at the same time, CKD assembly of a number of older VAZ models started.

Following the bankruptcy of Daewoo Motors in 2001, UkrAVTO corporation bought out AvtoZAZ holding in 2002. All of the AvtoZAZ manufacturing facilities (most notably, MeMZ and Illichivsk assembling plant)[3] were reincorporated into ZAZ. The company even adopted a new logo. The Daewoo part in the joint venture was bought out by Swiss venture Hirsch & CIE in 2003.

End of 2004 saw the beginning of full-scale production of completely domestic ZAZ Lanos (T150), now that CKD kits of Lanos were no longer supplied. In 2006, ZAZ reached an agreement with the Chinese manufacturer Chery Automobile to assemble passenger cars from kits and from 2011 started full-scale production of the Chery A13 under its own badge as ZAZ Forza. The same year production of the Chevrolet Aveo (T250) was moved from the FSO car factory to ZAZ.

By Decree of the President of Ukraine, CJSC "ZAZ" employees were rewarded with State awards of Ukraine in 2009.

In the first half of 2012 ZAZ manufactured 20,060 vehicles, a 30% decline from the same period in 2011.[4] In 2012 Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant started serial full-scale production of new car model - ZAZ Vida.

ZAZ and its reputation[edit]

ZAZ's products were never held in high esteem by Soviet citizens. In fact, ZAZ's original mission was to create a "people's car", almost like Volkswagen's original mission.[citation needed] In May 2009, ZAZ won the international tender for the production of vehicles for veterans and disabled people of Azerbaijan.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is a proud owner of a 1972 Zaporozhets model.[5]


Full-scale production[6][edit]

Complete knock down assembly[edit]

Performed at the Illichivsk Automobile Parts Plant:[10][11]

Performed at the Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant:[10][13]


  1. ^ a b c "ZAZ-965/965A" (in Russian). Avtolegendy SSSR, Nr. 17. DeAgostini 2009. ISSN 2071-095X.
  2. ^ "Company's history". Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Історія бренду TATA - Центр комерцiйноi технiки" (in Ukrainian). Центр комерцiйноi технiки. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Results of the first half of 2012". 9 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Meet Zaporozhets, a legend on wheels". 19 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Autoclub ZAZ
  7. ^ "Corporation "UkrAvto" and CJSC "ZAZ" start full-scale production of "Lanos" car". 15 December 2004. Archived from the original on 27 January 2005. 
  8. ^ "Запорожский автозавод определился с названием для новой модели" (in Russian). 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Появились первые фото ЗАЗ Vida" (in Russian). 24 January 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Оцінювання рівня спеціалізації продукції підприємства зат "ЗАЗ"" (in Ukrainian). Національна бібліотека України імені В.І. Вернадського, Київ. p. 5. 
  11. ^ "Quality management". 12 November 2006. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "История марки ЗАЗ". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "ZAZ is ready for complete knocked-down production of "Opel Astra" vehicles". 3 March 2004. Archived from the original on 7 November 2004. 
  14. ^ a b "Запорожцы заговорили по-немецки". 3 April 2002. 

External links[edit]