Trabbi 601-S - Typenschild 1.jpg
Manufacturer VEB Sachsenring
  • 1957–1990 (East Germany)
  • 1990–1991 (Germany)
  • 3.7 million produced
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive
  • 500cc two-cylinder two-stroke (1957~62)
  • 600cc two-cylinder two-stroke (1963~1989)
  • 1.0L VW Polo I4 four-stroke (1989~1991)
Wheelbase 2,020 mm (79.5 in)
Length 3,360 mm (132.3 in)
Width 1,500 mm (59.06 in)

Trabant 601 ad

The Trabant (/ˈtræbænt, –ənt/German: [tʁaˈbant]) is an automobile which was produced from 1957 to 1990 by former East German car manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau. It is often seen as symbolic of the former East Germany and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general. The Trabant was loud, slow, poorly designed, badly built, inhospitable to drive, uncomfortable, confusing and inconvenient. The Trabant had a hard plastic body mounted on a one-piece steel chassis (a so-called unibody or monocoque), front-wheel drive, a transverse engine, and independent suspension – unusual features at that time (1950s) — but it remained the same up until the 1990s. The 1980s model had no tachometer, no headlights or turn signals indicator, no fuel gauge, no rear seat belts, no external fuel door, drivers had to pour a mix of gasoline and oil directly under the hood, etc.

Called “a spark plug with a roof”, 3,096,999 Trabants in a number of models were produced over nearly three decades with few significant changes in their basic design. Older models have been sought by collectors in the United States due to their low cost and fewer restrictions on the importation of antique cars. The Trabant also gained a following among car tuning and rally racing enthusiasts.


Trabant 601 Mulhouse FRA 001Trabant 601 limousine

Trabant 601 EstateTrabant 601 Estate

Trabant means “satellite” or “companion” in German, derived from the Middle High German drabant (“Hussite foot soldier”). The car’s name was inspired by the Soviet Sputnik satellite. The cars are often referred to as “Trabbi” or “Trabi”. Produced without major changes for nearly 30 years, the Trabant became the most common automobile in East Germany. It came to symbolize the country during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as images of East Germans crossing the border into West Germany were broadcast around the globe.

Being a state monopoly, it took ten years to acquire a Trabant, East German buyers were placed on a waiting-list of up to thirteen years. The waiting time depended on their proximity to Berlin, the capital. Official state price was 7,450 GDR marks and the demand to production ratio was forty three to one (1989). The free market price for a second-hand one was more than twice the price of a new one, and the average worker had to wait ten to thirteen years on a waiting list, or, if available, pay more than double for a second hand one.

Trabant 2 interieurInterior of a 601

The Trabant had a steel unibody frame, with the roof, trunk lid, hood, fenders and doors made of duroplast, a hard plastic made from recycled cotton waste from the Soviet Union and phenol resins from the East German dye industry. It was the second car with a body made of recycled material; the first was the AWZ P70 Zwickau, produced from 1955 to 1959. The material was durable, and the average lifespan of a Trabant was 28 years.

Trabant quality was poor, reliability was terrible, closer inspection revealed “patchy assembly quality”, with atrocious maintenance record.

The car had four principal variants:

The P50, also known as the Trabant 500 (produced 1957–1962)

The Trabant 600 (1962–1964)

The Trabant 601 (1963–1991)

The Trabant 1.1, produced in 1990–1991 with a 1,043 cc (63.6 cu in) VW engine

Trabant Engine BlockTrabant two-stroke engine

The engine for the 500, 600 and the original 601 was a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders, accounting for the vehicle’s modest performance. Its curb weight was about 600 kg (1,323 lb). When it ceased production in 1989, the Trabant delivered 19 kilowatts (25 hp) from a 600 cc (37 cu indisplacement. It took 21 seconds to accelerate from zero to its top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

The engine produced a very smoky exhaust and was a significant source of air pollution: nine times the hydrocarbons and five times the carbon-monoxide emissions of the average 2007 European car. Its fuel consumption was 7 l/100 km (40 mpg‑imp; 34 mpg‑US). Since the engine did not have an oil pumptwo-stroke oil had to be added to the 24-liter (6.3 U.S. gal; 5.3 imp gal) fuel tank at a 50:1 (or 33:1) ratio of fuel to oil at each fill-up. Contemporary gas stations in countries where two-stroke engines were common sold a premixed gas-oil mixture at the pump. Because the Trabant had no fuel pump, its fuel tank was above the motor so fuel could reach the carburetor by gravity; this increased the risk of fire in front-end accidents. Earlier models had no fuel gauge, and a dipstick was inserted into the tank to determine how much fuel remained.

Best known for its dull color scheme and cramped, uncomfortable ride, the Trabant is an object of ridicule for many Germans and is regarded as symbolic of the fall of the Eastern Bloc. Known as a “spark plug with a roof” because of its small size, the car did gain public affection. Its design remained essentially unchanged from its introduction in the late 1950s, and the last model was introduced in 1964. In contrast, the West German Volkswagen Beetle received a number of updates (including improvements in efficiency) over a similar period.



The Trabant was the result of a planning process which had intended to design a three-wheeled motorcycle. In German, a trabant is an astronomical term for a moon (or other natural satellite) of a celestial body.

Full production

1959 Trabant P50

A 1959 Trabant P50

The first of the Trabants left the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau factory in Saxony on 7 November 1957. It was a relatively advanced car when it was formally introduced the following year, with front wheel driveunitary construction and independent suspension. The Trabant’s greatest shortcoming was its engine. By the late 1950s, many small West European cars (such as the Renault) had cleaner, more-efficient four-stroke engines, but budgetary constraints and raw-materials shortages mandated an outdated (but inexpensive) two-stroke engine in the Trabant. It was technically equivalent to the West German Lloyd automobile, a similarly sized car with an air-cooled, two-cylinder four-stroke engine. The Trabant had a front, transversely-mounted engine and front-wheel drive in an era when many European cars were using rear-mounted engines or front-mounted engines with rear-wheel drive. Its greatest drawback was its largely unchanged production; the car’s two-stroke engine made it obsolete by the 1970s, limiting exports to Western Europe.

The Trabant’s air-cooled, 500 cc (31 cu in) engine—upgraded to 600 cc (37 cu in) in 1962–63—was derived from a pre-war DKW design with minor alterations during its production run. The first Saab car had a larger (764 cc), water-cooled, two-cylinder two-stroke engine. Wartburg, an East German manufacturer of larger sedans, also used a water-cooled, three-cylinder, 1,000 cc (61 cu in), two-stroke DKW engine.

The original Trabant, introduced in 1958, was the P50. Trabant’s base model, it shared a large number of interchangeable parts with the latest 1.1s. The 500 cc, 18 hp (13 kW) P50 evolved into a 20 hp (15 kW) version with a fully synchronized gearbox in 1960, and received a 23 hp (17 kW), 500 cc (31 cu in) engine in 1962 as the P60.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0503-0015-001, Sachsenring Trabant 601A 1963 Trabant 601

The updated P601 was introduced in 1964. It was essentially a facelift of the P60, with a different front fascia, bonnet, roof and rear and the original P50 underpinnings. The model remained nearly unchanged until the end of its production except for the addition of 12V electricity, rear coil springs and an updated dashboard for later models.

Trabant P1100 prototypeP1100 prototype

The Trabant’s designers expected production to extend until 1967 at the latest, and East German designers and engineers created a series of more-sophisticated prototypes intended to replace the P601; several are displayed at the Dresden Transport Museum. Each proposal for a new model was rejected by the East German government due to shortages of the raw materials required in larger quantities for the more-advanced designs. As a result, the Trabant remained largely unchanged for more than a quarter-century. Also unchanged was its production method, which was extremely labour-intensive.

Production started from 34.000 in 1964, reached 100.000 in 1973, to a high of 150.000 in 1989.

The Trabant 1100 (also known as the P1100) was a 601 with a better-performing 1.05-liter (64 cu in), 45 hp (34 kW) VW Polo engine. With a more-modern look (including a floor-mounted gearshift), it was quieter and cleaner than its predecessor. The 1100 had front disc brakes, and its wheel assembly was borrowed from Volkswagen. It was produced between from 1989 to 1991, in parallel with the two-stroke P601. Except for the engine and transmission, many parts from older P50s, P60s and 601s were compatible with the 1100.


Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F086568-0046, Leipzig, ausgeschlachteter PKW Trabant (Trabbi)Many Trabants like this one, photographed in Leipzig in 1990, were abandoned after 1989.

Trabant 1.1 Limousine with VW Polo four-stroke engineTrabant 1.1 with VW Polo four-stroke engine

In mid-1989, thousands of East Germans began loading their Trabants with as much as they could carry and drove to Hungary or Czechoslovakia en route to West Germany on the “Trabi Trail”. Many had to get special permission to drive their Trabants into West Germany, since the cars did not meet West German emissions standards and polluted the air at four times the European average.

A licensed version of the Volkswagen Polo engine replaced the Trabant’s two-stroke engine in 1989, the result of a trade agreement between East and West Germany. The model, the Trabant 1.1, also had minor improvements to its brake and signal lights, a renovated grille, and MacPherson struts instead of a leaf-spring-suspended chassis. When the 1.1 began production in May 1990, the two German states had already agreed to reunification.

By April 1991 3.7 million vehicles had been produced. However, it soon became apparent that there was no place for the Trabant in a reunified German economy; its inefficient, labour-intensive production line survived on government subsidies.

The Trabant ceased production in 1991, and the Zwickau factory in Mosel (where the Trabant 1.1 was manufactured) was sold to Volkswagen AG; the rest of the company became HQM Sachsenring GmbH. Volkswagen redeveloped the Zwickau factory, which is a centre for engine production and produces some Volkswagen Golfs and Passats.

1990s and later

According to Richard Leiby, the Trabant had become “a symbol of the technological and social backwardness of the East German state.” Trabants became well known in the West after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when many were abandoned by their Eastern owners who migrated west. Unlike the Lada NivaŠkoda EstellePolski Fiat and Yugo, the Trabant had negligible sales in Western Europe.

A Trabant could be bought for as little as a few Deutsche Marks during the early 1990s, and many were given away. Although prices recovered as they became collectors’ items, they remain inexpensive cars. In her Bodyworkproject, performance artist Liz Cohen transformed a 1987 Trabant into a 1973 Chevrolet El Camino. The Trabant was planned to return to production in Uzbekistan as the Olimp during the late 1990s, but only one model was produced.

2007 Trabant P50 or 60 during the First Trabant Rally 22-12-2007

A Trabant during the first Parade of Trabants in 2007

Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and Atlantic Club of Bulgaria founding president Solomon Passy owned a Trabant which was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and which he took NATO Secretaries General Manfred WörnerGeorge Robertson, and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for rides. In 2005, Passy donated the vehicle (which had become symbolic of Bulgaria’s NATO accession) to the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria. In 1997 the Trabant was celebrated for passing the moose test without rolling over, as the Mercedes-Benz W168 had; a Thuringian newspaper’s headline read, “Come and get us, moose! Trabi passes A-Class killer test”.

The Trabant entered the world of diplomacy in 2007 when Steven Fisherdeputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Budapest, used a 1.1 (painted as close to British racing green as possible) as his diplomatic carAmerican Trabant owners celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall with the Parade of Trabants, an annual early-November rally held in Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the privately owned International Spy Museum, includes street tours in Trabants, rides, live German music and displays about East Germany.

Planned reintroduction

The Herpa company, a Bavarian miniature-vehicle manufacturer, bought the rights to the Trabant name and showed a scale model of a “newTrabi” at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Plans for production included a limited run, possibly with a BMW engine. A Trabant nT model was unveiled two years later in Frankfurt.

The Trabant nT consortium includes Herpa, the German specialized-auto-parts manufacturer IndiKar and the German automobile-engineering company IAV. The group was looking for investment, design and production in the Trabant’s original hometown of Zwickau, with sales “in 2012”. The Trabant nT electric car would be equipped with a 45 kW (60 hp; 61 PS) asynchronous motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.


Fotothek df ps 0002918 Stadt ^ Stadtlandschaften ^ Camping

Trabant P50 Universal, later known as the 500 Universal


P50: Later known as the 500 (Limousine and Universal [Combi])

600 (Limousine and Universal)

601 Standard (Limousine, Universal)

601S (Sonderwunsch; Special Edition) with fog lamps, a rear white light and an odometer

601 DeLuxe: Similar to the 601S, with two colours and a chrome bumper

601 Kübel: Doorless jeep with a folding roof, auxiliary heating system and RFI-shielded ignition

601 Tramp: Civilian version of the Kübel, primarily exported to Greece

601 Hycomat: For drivers unable to use their left leg, with an automatic clutch

800RS: Rally version

1.1: Limousine, Universal and Tramp (convertible)


See also

August Horch Museum Zwickau

Jokes about the Trabant


Soybean Car


Jump up^ According to Elof Hellquist‘s Svensk etymologisk ordbok (Swedish Etymological DictionaryISBN 91-40-01978-0), the word also exists in Low German dravant, French trabant and Italian trabante but its origin is unknown: “It is not even certain whether the Romance words have been borrowed from the German, or vice versa.”


Jump up to:a b Legends of the Open Road. Rizzoli International Publications. ISBN 978-88-6130-066-8.

Jump up^ World Cars 1978. Herald Books. ISBN 0-910714-10-X.

Jump up to:a b “The Trabant Was an Awful Car Made by Communists”. November 2016.

Jump up^ “Trabant Canada”. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ “99 (Svensk etymologisk ordbok)” (in Swedish). 1922. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017. (in Swedish)

Jump up to:a b c d James, Kyle (19 May 2007). “Go, Trabi, Go! East Germany’s Darling Car Turns 50”. Deutsche Welle. Archivedfrom the original on 11 September 2007.

Jump up^ Stokes, Raymond G. (2000). “Plastics and the New Society: The German Democratic Republic in the 1950s and 1960s”. In Reid, Susan E.; Crowley, David. Style and Socialism: Modernity and Material Culture in Post-War Eastern Europe. Oxford, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Berg. ISBN 1-85973-239-9OCLC 898724665.

Jump up to:a b c Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “The ‘Trabi’ automobile, once a symbol of East Germany, to be revived”International Herald Tribune. Reuters. Archived from the originalon 4 December 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2011.

Jump up to:a b c “German Firm Plans to Launch Revamped Trabant”. Deutsche Welle. 7 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up to:a b “The 12 worst cars ever built”. January 2010.

Jump up to:a b c d “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn, and Movement”History Workshop Journal. 18 September 2009.

Jump up to:a b “Special From Germany: Show 402”Scientific American Frontiers. PBS. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015.

Jump up^ Cotta, Rick. “Driving a Trabant”.

Jump up^ “BBC”. 1 January 2007. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.

Jump up^ “”. 28 February 2013. Archivedfrom the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.

Jump up^ “Trans National Trabant Tour 2007”. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ Silk, Bernard (3 May 2003). “Daily Telegraph”. London: Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ Hockenos, Paul (7 November 2014). “Berlin Welcomes Back the Trabant, if Only for a Day”The New York TimesArchivedfrom the original on 7 November 2017.

Jump up^ Richard Stroup (2003). Eco-nomics: What Everyone Should Know about Economics and the Environment. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-930865-44-0.

Jump up^ “Translate Trabant from German to English”http://www.interglot.comArchived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

Jump up^ Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York City: Pantheon BooksISBN 0-375-42532-2.

Jump up^ “Trabant”. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011.

Jump up^ Richard A. Leiby (1999). The Unification of Germany, 1989–1990. Greenwood. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-313-29969-8.

Jump up^ Keats, Jonathon (July 2003). “High-Performance Artist”WiredArchived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.

Jump up^ “Trabant Clunks Back to Life”. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December2010.

Jump up^ “Automobile Industry In Uzbekistan”Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ “Соломон Паси подари трабанта си на НИМ” (in Bulgarian). Вести. 13 July 2005. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2009.

Jump up^ “Petite feat”. 6 May 2005. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ “British Deputy Ambassador’s ride small and green”. Politics.Hu. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2009.

Jump up^ Zsolt, Csikós (10 November 2008). “A brit nagykövethelyettes Trabantja (“The British Deputy Ambassador’s Trabant”)”. Ltd. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “Sixth Annual Parade of Trabants”International Spy MuseumArchived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “The ‘Trabi’ automobile, once a symbol of East Germany, to be revived”The New York TimesArchived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “Photo Gallery: Electric Trabant Unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show”. Spiegel Online. 16 September 2009. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “German group develops new Trabant”. London: 14 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.

Jump up^ Hall, Allan (14 August 2009). “Smoke-belching Trabant to be reborn as electric car”. London: Archivedfrom the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.

Jump up^ “The “newTrabi” idea becomes the “Trabant nT” concept car”. Trabant nT GmbH. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “Eco Cars: All-electric Trabant NT Gears To Clean 20-year-old Mess”. Ecofriend. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.

Further reading

Berdahl, Daphne. “‘Go, Trabi, Go!’: Reflections on a Car and Its Symbolization over Time.” Anthropology and Humanism 25.2 (2000): 131-141. online

Rubin, Eli. “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn, and Movement.” History Workshop Journal (2009) 68#1 pp 27–44. online

Zatlin, Jonathan R. “The vehicle of desire: The Trabant, the Wartburg, and the end of the GDR.” German History 15.3 (1997): 358-380. online

Lisse, Jürgen (2010), Fahrzeuglexikon Trabant (in German) (2. erweiterte ed.), Witzschdorf: Bildverlag Böttger, ISBN 978-3-937496-34-4

Röcke, Matthias (2011), Die Trabi-Story. Der Dauerbrenner aus Zwickau (in German), Bath: Parragon, ISBN 978-1-4454-6266-0, vormals in zwei Auflagen erschienen im Heel Verlag

Stiegler, Theo (2007), Der Trabant wird 50! In guten wie in schlechten Zeiten (in German), Dresden: edition Sächsische Zeitung/Saxo’Phon, ISBN 978-3-938325-36-0

Sarotte, Mary Elise (2014). The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall. New York: Basic Books. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-465-06494-6.

External links


Trabant vehicles

UK-based official Wartburg, Trabant and IFA owners’ club

Trabant at Curlie


History of the Trabant

The story behind Trabant

Sachsenring Trabant site

IFA Mobile 2-takt Vereniging, de oudste vereniging voor Oost-Duitse auto’s

Trabant history and prospects

Technical Data and additional Information about Trabant 601.

Technical details and pictures of the Trabant 601

British microcar club that welcomes trabant owners and drivers

Trabant – East Germany’s Finest


Interactive presentation of Red Pearl Trabant 601z

Trabant TV ad at Google Videos

Trabant test drive at Google Videos

Production of the Trabant car (Final Quality Testing) on YouTube

Moskvitch – Москвич

Moskvitch  –  Москвич    1929-2010 Russia

OAO Moskvitch
Government-owned (1929-1991), privately owned (1991-2010)
Industry Automotive
Fate Bankrupt since 2002
Dissolved in 2006
Predecessor AZLK
Successor None. Partial recuperation of former production factories by Avtoframos (Russian subsidiary of Renault) since 2008
Founded 1929
Headquarters MoscowRussia
Products cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, sports vehicles, vans
Website Official OAO “Moskvich” Website

Moskvitch (RussianМосквич) (also written as MoskvichMoskvič or Moskwitsch) was a Soviet/Russian automobile brand produced by AZLK from 1946 to 1991 and by OAO Moskvitch from 1991 to 2001. The current article incorporates information about both the brand and the joint-stock successor of AZLK for the sake of simplicity.

OAO Moskvitch was a privatized venture name given to the former factory in order to avoid legal issues after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since the factory had no assembly branches outside Russia after 1991, its name is largely used today to refer to the building located in the lower eastern part of Moscow and abandoned since 2006.

The word moskvich (Russianмосквич) itself translates as “a native of Moscow, a Moscovite“. It was used to point out the original location of the cars manufactured in the capital of RussiaMoscow.


1962 Logo-mzmaMZMA Logo


In 1929 the construction of Moscow Automotive Plant began with initial production of 24,000 vehicles. Between 1940 and 1941, it built the two-door compact car KIM 10-50 and its “Phaeton” version KIM 10-51. In 1941, after having produced under 1,000 units, the plant was evacuated to Ural and the entire production converted for the manufacture of military equipment after Hitler’s invasion during World War II.

After the war, the production of the KIM cars was not resumed, and instead the Soviet Union acquired an Opel manufacturing line from Brandenburg in Soviet occupation zone of Germany to manufacture the modified Opel Kadett under the name Moskvitch-400 in December 1946. In the 1950s and afterwards the factory, now called MZMA (Moskovsky Zavod Malolitrazhnykh Avtomobiley, that is, Moscow Compact Car Factory), replaced it with its own cars developed by Soviet engineers: the second post-war generation consisting of the Moskvitch-402–407 and 410, then by the more advanced Moskvitch 408412 and 2140. The M-407 was the first Soviet automotive export to be truly successful in the West. Up to half of all M-407 production was exported for a number of years, mainly to the Eastern Bloc countries, Norway, Finland, and France. Later models were also sold in Great Britain, Finland, and Norway, for instance, and in 1968, 55% of production was for export. In 1969, the factory changed its name to AZLK (Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola, which means Automobile Factory in honor of Komsomol Leninist Communist Youth Union).

Moskvitch cars were sturdy, reliable on substandard roads and were offered at low cost. Demand always exceeded production, so people in the Soviet Union had to wait a long time for a new car. Until the 1980s all Moskvitch cars were compact rear-wheel drive saloons and estates with solid rear axles suspended by leaf springs.

The Moskvitch was also produced in Bulgaria (see Moskvitch (Bulgaria)) between 1966 and 1990 on the basis of complete knock down (CKD) kits. Models 408, 408I, 412, 21412 “Aleko”, total of 304,297 cars.

In 1986 the Moskvitch-2141 Aleko became available for the first time. It was influenced by the Simca 1307 (which was also badged as the Chrysler/Dodge Alpine, and under other names, in western markets). It was upgraded and restyled during the period of its production. It was powered by the 1.5L UZAM used in the M-412 model and VAZ-2106 1.6L in-line four-cylinder engines, which had by then had been used in several LADA models. Aleko was different from any model the factory had made previously: it was larger and more luxurious, made with more comfort, safety and aerodynamics in mind. The new car had such features as front-wheel drive, a hatchback body style, MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion-crank rear suspension. It had rack-and-pinion steering and a collapsible steering column. The 1.8 liter gasoline engine for the new car was planned, but never materialized, as was also the case with a diesel version. 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 dissolution of the Soviet Union, due to a financial crisis, disruptions in the work of the company and financial mismanagement the engine plant was not finished and the Moskvitch company fell into decline. Because of its location, Moskvitch 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 factory, which had been renamed to OAO Moskvitch (Moskvitch Joint-Stock Company) in the early 1990s, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and ceased production. Unfinished bodyshells remained on the production line in various stages of completion, while furniture, computers, office supplies, and documents remained in the plant’s administration building. Several attempts to restart production have been made over the next 3 years, but none were successful.

A portion of the abandoned plant was acquired by OAO Avtoframos, a 38%-62% joint venture between the City of Moscow and French automaker Renault SA. In 2005, Avtoframos commenced assembly of Renault Logan sedans from imported complete knock-down kits (CKDs). The presence of Avtoframos brought new life to a small part of the facility, but the majority of the sprawling plant remains abandoned, apparently still owned by the dormant Moskvitch company.

The bankruptcy of OAO Moskvitch was officially announced in 2006 and the company was liquidated the following year. As of 2016, over a million Moskvitch cars remained on Russian roads.

Since 2009, the owner of the brand Moskvitch is the German automotive company Volkswagen. In 2011, the company extended its brand ownership rights until 2021, a 10-year period.

List of Moskvitch vehicles

Vehicles by generation

Vehicles AZLK

First (1940—1956)

KIM-10-50 sedan1940KIM-10-50

Moskvitch 4-Door Sedan 400-401Moskvitch-400

KIM 10-50 (1940-1941) 2-door compact carkim-10-51 j


KIM 10-51 (1941) the same car with a Phaeton body1941 KIM 10-52KIM-10-52 (1945) 4-door compact carMoskvitch 400-420Moskvitch 400-420 Flathead engine 23 hp (1946-1954), copy of 1939 Opel Kadett K38Moskvitch 400-420A (Москвич 400-420A) ConvertibleMoskvitch 400-420A (4-door convertible, was priced below closed models, but anyway was not popular) (1949–52)Moskvitch-402, probably a Moskvitch-402B (with hand controls for disabled drivers)Moskvitch-402, probably a Moskvitch-402B (with hand controls for disabled drivers) Moskvitch 400-420B (version of 400 for disabled persons)1953 Москвич 401 - cab1953 Москвич 401 – cab   Moskvitch 400-420K (cab-chassis version of 400)moskvich 400-3 ambulance carmoskvich 400-3 ambulance car   Moskvitch 400-420M (medical sedan version of 400)1954-1956 Moscvitch 401 woody 5dr. 400-421-1

Moskvitch 400-421 (prototype five-door version of 400-422) (1946)1948, a prototype woodie wagon, the moscvitch 400-422, with an 800 kg (1,800 lb) payload, was builtMoskvitch 400-422 (three-door “woodie” station wagon version of 400) (1949)1949 Moscvitch 401Э - Москвич 401Э 5d 401-424e 0Moskvitch 400-424 (prototype for 401)

Moskvitch 400E-431-442 (airplane engine starter version of 400) (1951-1953)1960 Moskvitch 431 i481092Moskvitch 400P-431-441 (prototype truck based on 400) (1951)1952 MOSKVITCH 401Moskvitch 401-420 Flathead engine 26 hp (1954-1956)Moskvitch-402, probably a Moskvitch-402B (with hand controls for disabled drivers)Moskvitch 401-420B (invalid car version of 401MOSKVICH 401-422Moskvitch 401-420K (cab-chassis version of 401)

Moskvich-400 ambulance

Moskvitch 401-420M (medical sedan version of 401)1948, a prototype woodie wagon, the moscvitch 400-422, with an 800 kg (1,800 lb) payload, was builtMoskvitch 401-422 (“woodie” station wagon version of 401) (1954)moskvich 423Moskvitch 401-423 (prototype redesigned version of 401) (1949-1951)

Moskvitch 401A1-420 (401 powered by 402 engine) (1956)

Second (1956—1965)

Moskvitch 402 (with modified Opel flathead engine 35 hp) (1956-1958)

Moskvitch 410 (four wheel drive version of 402) (1957-1958)

Moskvitch 423 (station wagon version of 402) (1957-1958)

Moskvitch 429 (two-door delivery van prototype, based on 402)

Moskvitch 430 (two-door delivery van version of 423) (1958)

Moskvitch 410N (four wheel drive version of 407) (1958-1961)

Moskvitch 411 (station wagon version of 410) (1958-1961)

Moskvitch 423N (station wagon version of 407) (1958-1963)

Moskvitch 407 (45 hp OHV engine) (1958-1964)

Moskvitch 431 (delivery van prototype, based on 410N)

Moskvitch 403 (45 hp OHV engine) (1962-1965)

Moskvitch 424 (station wagon version of 403) (1963-1965)

Moskvitch 432 (delivery van version of 403) (1964)

Third (1965—1986)

Moskvitch 408 OHV 50 PS (37 kW; 49 hp), modified 1360 cc 407-engine (1964-1975)

Moskvitch 433 (panel van version of 408) (1966-1975)Москвич 412 a

1974-Izh-Moskvitch-412IEMoskvitch 412 (1967-1975) (latterly known as a Moskvitch 1500 for the Western export market)moskvitch-426-04Moskvitch 426 (station wagon version of 408) (1967-1975)1969 Moscvich 427Moskvitch 427 (station wagon version of 412) (1967-1975)

Moskvitch 434 (panel van version of 412) (1967-1975)AZLK-2140 Moskvich (1,5L)(front)Moskvitch-2140 (1976-1988) (carried on the scheme of using the Moskvitch 1500 name for Western exports)1976 Moskvitch 2136Moskvitch 2136 (similar to 2137, but with 408 engine) (1976)1976 Moskvitch 2136 blueMoskvitch 2137 (station wagon version of 2140) (1976-1988)Moskvich 2734Moskvitch 2734 (panel van version of 2140) (1976-1981)Moskvich 2138 in Sofia, BulgariaMoskvitch 2138 (similar to 2140, but with 408 engine) (1976-1982)

Moskvitch 2140SL (1981-1986, also known as 1500SL) (improved 2140, Super Lux was made for foreign markets)

Moskvitch 2733 (panel van version of 2136)

“Bolivar” (tow truck prototype, based on 2140)

Fourth (1986–2003)

Moskvitch 2141 Aleko (1986)Moskvitch-2142Moskvitch 2142 (1997)Москвич 2335 Пикап 5мест

Moskvitch 2335(1993, pickup truck based on 2141)Azlk 2336 moskvitch (Prototype Car)Moskvitch 2336 (cab-chassis truck based on 2141)moskvich-2340 4wd-01

Moskvitch 2340 (all wheel drive version of 2335)


Moskvitch 2344 (2000, front-drive version of 2335)

 Moscvich 2901 (1994, van version of 2141)Moskvich-2141 svyatogor-1Moskvitch 2141 Moskvitch Sviatogor (1997) (a name taken from the Russian mythology)Moskvich-2141 Yuri Dolgoruky 2001 for GTA San AndreasMoskvitch 2142 Dolgorukiy (1997) (named after Yuri Dolgorukiy, founder of Moscow)Moskvitch 2142 Ivan KalitaMoskvitch 2142 Kalita (1998) (named after Ivan Kalita, a 14th-century Russian prince)

Moskvitch 2142 Kniaz Vladimir (1998) (named after Prince Vladimir)

Moskvitch 2142 Duet (1999)

Sport and racing cars

Moskvitch 404 Sport (1950s)

Moskvitch 409 (1962)Moskvitch 412 (Moskvich 412, Москвич-412, M-412)Moskvitch 412R (1972)

Moskvitch 2141KR (1988)1955 Mzma g1 moskvitch (Prototype Car)Moskvitch G1 (1955)

Moskvitch G2 model

1956 Moskvich-G2-407, 1956

Moskvitch G2 (1956)

Moskvitch G3 (1961)

Moskvitch G4 (1963)

Moskvitch G5 (1965)


Moskvitch 444 (1956-1958, later built as the ZAZ-965)