Under pressure from Western sanctions, Russia has begun the production of a new model of the Soviet car brand Moskvich in Moscow.
The car plant, which had been closed following the departure of French carmaker Renault, was reopened on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Interfax news agency reported.
The Moskvich-3 is a copy of the Chinese off-road vehicle JAC S4. It will initially be built in Russia with a 150-HP gasoline engine. An electric version should also roll off the assembly line by the end of the year. Sales should start in the first quarter of 2023.
The Russian Ministry of Industry stressed that the manufacturing of the vehicle will secure some 40,000 jobs in Russia.
The Moskvich car brand was produced in the Soviet Union from 1946 and was initially a copy of Germany's Opel Kadett. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the brand ran into financial difficulties.
Production of the last model, the Moskvich 2141, was discontinued in 2001, and bankruptcy proceedings were initiated in 2006.
French carmaker Renault subsequently took over the plant but pulled out in May 2022.