This Russian automobile brand has been one of a limited number to have had some visibility abroad, although generally its models have been characterized by the use of outmoded technologies and styling. In 1930 its manufacturer, the AZLK (Avtobiliny Zavod Imeni Leninskogo Komsomola) car plant, was established and is one of the oldest Russian factories in the field. During the 1930s the AZLK underwent several changes of name and after the Second World War was called the MZMA (Small Car Moscow Factory), which produced the first cars with the Moskovitch brand name. This 400/420 range was based on a pre‐war Opel Kadett, although it boasted four doors as a more utilitarian, people‐oriented design. It remained in production until 1956, but like other Moskovitch models—such as the 402 with three‐speed gearbox of 1956—had outdated technology. By the 1960s Moskovitch was the only Russian automobile brand with an export penetration of note, including models such as the 408 that came out in various models including the Tourist coupé. During this and succeeding decades the Moskovitch design team worked on a number of protoypes, including off‐road vehicles in the 1960s through to MPVs (Multi‐Purpose Vehicles) in the 1990s. Nonetheless, for production models the company still drew on lines established elsewhere such as the 1986 2141 front‐wheel drive that looked to the Simca 1308, ‘Car of the Year’ of 1976. The export version was named the Aleko. In the 1990s Moskovitch tried to update its image with the production of a luxury car, the Ivan Kalita, powered by a Renault engine. However, it was only produced in a very limited edition and was beyond the reach of almost all Russians. By the early twenty‐first century AZLK was producing under licence a number of cars from the Renault range, including the 19 and the Clio. Looking towards Renault precedents such as the pioneering Espace the company also attempted to develop a more contemporary image through working on an MPV.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.