The Volga has long been the calling card of the Soviet cars industry abroad, the Moskvich has won prizes in international rallies, the Pobeda has toured the streets of Belgium and Great Britain, and many Japanese still dream of buying the UAZ-452.
Avtovaz has recently upgraded its Lada lineup, and its sales in the EU have increased 14% since the start of the year, according to the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). All in all, Lada are exported to 30 countries, including Cuba, Chile, and Tunisia.
Read in this article what Soviet cars were and still are popular abroad or visit the link in order to buy a russian classic car.
Russian Soviet cars in Cuba
Soviet cars have been very popular in Cuba for many decades. There are Internet pictures of retro cars flooding the streets of Havana. The USSR started selling cars to Cuba after the Revolution in 1959. And right after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, deliveries of domestic cars to the Liberty Island ceased. But during these years a great number of Soviet cars were delivered to Cuba, they are in good condition and are still in running order. ZIL trucks take tourists through the countryside, national parks, caves and waterfalls. Cubans call these trucks “behemoths”. KrAZ trucks with tractor trailers are busy transporting tobacco and other goods. The most popular in Cuba are our Volgas, Ladas and Moskviches made in 1970-1980s. Many cars are used by Cubans as cabs.
“The Volga has been a hallmark of the Soviet c industry for many years. The Gorky automobile plant exported cars with improved trim and a more powerful engine. The Volga was particularly popular in Belgium, Greece, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the former GDR in the 1960s.
Most of the cars M-412 in the first years of production went for export. “Moskvich” won fame in the international rally in the 1960s and 1970s, becoming a very popular car on the world market. In the 1970s, “Moskvich” was supplied to 70 countries, including France, the Netherlands and Britain. The model turned out to be so popular abroad that M-412 cars were assembled from Soviet-made components in Belgium (under the brand name Scaldia 1500), Finland (Elite 1500) and Bulgaria (Rila).
“Pobeda” is the first domestic car, which was exported in large batches. In the 1950s, 5,000 cars were sold abroad, a third of all cars produced at the time. GAZ-M20 cars were in demand in Finland, Belgium and Great Britain. In addition, several “Victories” were brought to the United States, where the press praised the Soviet car.
The famous car came to Europe in 1973. In 1978 UAZ-469 became a prizewinner in the Italian autocross championship in San Remo. UAZ trucks are popular in Italy today: they are used to transport tourists to volcanoes, for mine rescue work, geological exploration and delivery of food to remote areas of the country. The Italian Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure has recently approved the purchase of a batch of UAZ pickups, which will make it possible to export the off-road vehicles to the countries of the European Union. The Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant is exporting these vehicles to countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and last year UAZ began exporting cars to Latin America. The Patriot and Pickup models are in the greatest demand.
“Niva” won a gold medal at the 1978 Brno International Motor Show and is still one of the most sought-after domestic vehicles. The model, released in 1977, is still in serial production. VAZ-2121 was delivered to Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Niva” entered the markets of Austria, Iceland, Uruguay and Great Britain under the names “Taiga”, “Sport”, “Diva” and “Cossack”. The car was made for the countryside, so that the villagers could drive off-road without any problems. It was with its cross-country capabilities and ease of repair that “Niva” conquered western car enthusiasts. The chief designer of VAZ-2121 Petr Prusov in his interview to Niva newspaper said that now this model is one of the most demanded AvtoVAZ products abroad.
The model of Soviet all-wheel drive cars Lada Samara was in great demand abroad in the 1980s. At that time every fourth imported car with a “station wagon” body in France was a Lada Samara. In the 1990s, a quarter of AvtoVAZ cars went to Western Europe.
The UAZ-452 model of the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant is very popular in Japan. Fans of the Russian van appreciate it for its loyalty to traditions: for 65 years since the beginning of production, the model has undergone almost no changes. The unique “retrocar” UAZ-452 can now be bought new; however, not all Japanese can afford this car: the cost of the car in the Country of the Rising Sun exceeds $30,000.