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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

The Automotive Industry

The Soviet automotive industry has developed on a much smaller scale than its United States counterpart. Although production grew rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s, the industry's close connection with the military made some production data inaccessible. From 1970 to 1979, automobile production grew by nearly 1 million units per year, and truck production grew by 250,000 per year. The production ratio of automobiles to trucks increased in that time from 0.7 to 1.7, indicating that more attention was being given to the consumer market.

Automobile production was concentrated in four facilities: the Volga (in Tol'yatti), Gor'kiy, Zaporozh'ye, and Likhachev (Moscow) plants (see fig. 15). The Volga plant was built in the late 1960s especially for passenger automobiles; by 1975 it was making half the Soviet total. The Likhachev and Gor'kiy plants, both in operation for more than fifty years, made automobiles and trucks. Truck production was less centralized, with plants in Kutaisi (Georgian Republic), the Urals, Tiraspol (Moldavian Republic), Kremenchug (Ukrainian Republic), Minsk (Belorussian Republic), Mytishchi (Moscow area), and Naberezhnyye Chelny (eastern Russian Republic), the site of the large showpiece Kama plant built in the late 1970s. The Volga and Kama plants were located away from the established population centers; in both cases, new towns were built for transplanted workers. Long-term truck planning (through the year 2000) emphasized large capacity, fuel economy, and service life; the last two qualities were deficient in earlier models. The drive for fuel economy has encouraged the use of natural and liquefied gas. Heavy truck and trailer production was to occupy more than 40 percent of the truck industry by 1990, doubling tractor-trailer production. Vehicle parts plants were widely dispersed in the European sector of the country. Policy for the Soviet automotive industry has emphasized two divergent goals: increasing the supply of private automobiles as a symbol of attention to the consumer; and supporting heavy industry with improved equipment for heavy transport and material handling.

Data as of May 1989