Russian Car Brands

Russian Car Brands

The Russian car industry is notorious for building cheap cars at an expense of quality (most of the time) so it can be affordable for an everyday worker. Many companies were mandated by the state, and as such they often shared brands, which can add to confusion.

Most companies were created either in the 30s (during mass industrialization) or in the 60s (during the car boom in Eastern Europe).

Lada (AutoVAZ)

Logo Lada

Founded: 1973
Headquarters: Russia
Owner: AvtoVAZ
Website: lada.ru

Lada is a trademark by which the renowned company called ‘AutoVAZ’ released almost all of its cars. These cars are amongst the most common and accessible in Russia. The company itself was started in 1969, but the first Lada car came about in 1977. The older models are easily recognizable – they all look extremely simple and awkward.

The value of this brand is hard to ignore – virtually all pre-90s cars in Russia are AutoVAZ-issued.

UAZ

Logo UAZ

Founded: July 1941
Headquarters: Ulyanovsk, Russia
Parent organization: Sollers JSC
Website: www.uaz.ru

This is another old and famous Russian brand. It started off in 1941 as a producer of war automobiles (trucks, and so on). Afterwards, they used this knowledge to create commercially available off-road cars. They really only ever created one model – UAZ-469 – and then modified it endlessly. UAZ-469 is that square military car with flat front you could see in movies.

GAZ

Logo GAZ

Founded: 1932
Headquarters: Nizhny Novgorod, NIZ, Russia
Parent: GAZ Group
Owner: Oleg Deripaska
Website: en.azgaz.ru

GAZ is one of the first Soviet car brands – it was launched in 1932 as per agreement with Ford. The prominent distinction of this brand was its orientation – the cars weren’t really meant for average workers, but for officials or prestigious personalities. Because of it, the company focused on quality rather than numbers and affordability.

As a result, you can’t see a lot of them on the streets, but they are nevertheless very well-known in the former Soviet countries.

Aurus

Logo Aurus

Founded: 2013
Headquarters: Moscow, Russia
Website: aurusmotors.com

Aurus is a one-car brand. It’s basically a luxury automobile created specifically for high officials in 2020 by the institute called NAMI. Right now, it’s the major Russian luxury car, and you can even buy it, although it’s not really ready for export at the moment.

Minor brands

The Russian car industry isn’t very well-developed. The major brands are still state-favored, while the minor brands have to struggle. There’s only a few notorious minor brands, whose products can still be acquired (one way or another). The list does not include subsidiaries from bigger brands.

SeAZ

Logo SeAZ

Founded: 7 July 1939
Defunct: 2013
Headquarters: Serpukhov, Moscow Oblast, Russia
Parent: PLC Tsentrotorg
Website: seaz.ru

SeAZ is a company launched in 1939 and closed in 2013 that mostly just created mini-cars. There were several, but the most successful and prominent is the SeAZ-1111 ‘Oka’. This car made it into the popular culture due to its especially small size.

Moskvitch

Logo Moskvitch

Founded: 1929
Headquarters: Moscow, Russia
Website: www.azlk.ru

Moskvitch (‘Muscovite’) is another bankrupt company that functioned in 1929-2010. In the 60s, they started creating the cars that would have a genuinely powerful engine. The resulting cars were somewhere halfway from Lada to GAZ in terms of affordability.

Izh

Logo Izh

Founded: 1965
Headquarters: Izhevsk, Russia
Parent: AvtoVAZ
Website: www.ladaizhevsk.ru

Izh (‘Иж’) cars were first introduced in the 70s by the ‘IzhAvto’. They were a slighter better alternative to Lada cars, although they were a lot less known. The last real Izh was discontinued in 2006, and later the company was absorbed by AutoVAZ.

Kombat

Founded: 1985
Founder: Mikhail Gorbachev
Headquarters: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Website: www.armoringgroup.org

Kombat is a name for several high-security cars created by ‘Autokad’ company specifically for the military in 1998.  One of the major brand products is the T-98, an off-road armored car designed for the warzone.

Aleko

Logo Aleko

Founded: 1985-present

GM-AvtoVAZ

Logo GM-AvtoVAZ

Founded: 2001-present

Doninvest

Logo Doninvest

Founded: 1997-2014

Marussia

Logo Marussia

Founded: 2007-2014

Russo-Balt

Logo Russo-Balt

Founded: 1894-1923/2006

TagAZ

Logo TagAZ

Founded: 1997-2014

Derways Automobile Company

Logo Derways Automobile Company

Founded: 2003-2019