It is possible that Mayor Sobyanin may step on the same rake as his predecessor.
25 years ago, on a rainy morning, the author of these lines was sent to make a TV report about the arrival of a convoy of updated Moskvich cars under the pretentious names Svyatogor, Prince Vladimir, Yuri Dolgoruky and Ivan Kalita at the Moscow City Hall.
No, the family of ancient Russian princes was not completely new models of one brand. It was the same "Moskvich-2141" with an attached trunk and various options in the cabin. And yes, instead of the old Izhevsk and VAZ engines, they stuck an engine from Renault with a capacity of 140 hp into it. and the English clutch "Lucas".
Apparently, someone convinced Moscow Mayor Luzhkov that replacing the engine and clutch with foreign counterparts is a revolution in the domestic auto industry.
Standing on Tverskaya Street, Yuri Mikhailovich glowed with happiness at the sight of self-propelled chariots.
- These are the best cars in the world! The best! - Luzhkov shouted into the microphone, shaking his cap, like Lenin in April 1917 at the Finland Station in St. Petersburg.
What they really were, we found out a couple of months later, when our television company received "Prince Vladimir" as a result of a barter deal. At first, they thought that the prince would go to the general director of the channel. But he, having looked out the window at the products of AZLK, decided not to exchange his BMW-745 for him and graciously offered his three deputies to "ride for free".
Within a month, all three deputies honestly tried "the best car in the world" and ... unanimously offered to give it to the elderly head of the analytics department. As if in perpetual use.
Grandfather of television analytics joyfully got into the car, thanking his superiors for the "princely" gift. However, a month later, the entire editorial staff noticed the lonely standing "Prince Vladimir" in the courtyard of the office. Grandpa, meanwhile, parked in his French "Renault Megan"...
As it turned out, the reason for the massive rejection of the AZLK novelty was very prosaic: it constantly broke down, and there was no one and nowhere to repair or set it up. And the driving performance of the car, even with a French engine, turned out to be much worse than that of foreign cars that have become familiar.
But what is the reason for the breakdowns themselves on a new car, a familiar engineer explained in one sentence:
- You see, "Moskvichs" are not the worst cars, but they are assembled with the help of two irreplaceable devices - a sledgehammer and that same mother ...
The fact is that for ten years neither the Ministry of Automotive Industry nor the Moscow government, having spent 750 million dollars on the purchase of imported machine tools, have not been able to modernize the AZLK. For a new diesel engine plant, for example, a separate building was built, equipment was brought in... But in the end, the building was given to Renault and Avtoframos, which launched the production of purely French cars, investing another 480 million euros in the project.
Otherwise, however, it could not be. No one in Luzhkov's team believed in the success of Moskvich, and the whole idea with the "princes" was just a red herring for the subsequent seizure of AZLK land for commercial construction. Yes, and managing business processes in the automotive industry turned out to be much more difficult for officials than laying tiles and replacing curbs. Before the final collapse of AZLK, each ruble invested in Muscovites brought 36 kopecks of loss.
Today, the capital's mayor's office receives the heirs of AZLK for "personal" use for the second time.
Note that this time Sobyanin and Co. has some advantages over Luzhkov. "Avtoframos" (aka Renault-Russia) is a well-functioning plant with modern equipment, technologies and - most importantly! - by trained personnel who no longer remember the sledgehammer and "that very mother".
The obvious disadvantages of the AZLK-2 (Automobile plant named after Lenin's Komsomol-2) project are technical cooperation with KAMAZ, which itself suffered from sanctions, from the departure of a strategic partner in the face of Mercedes and the need to revive products 40 years old.
After all, it is clear that neither the Moscow City Hall nor KAMAZ has any ready-made model of a passenger car at all.
It is clear that no one in Russia needs the old "Moskvich" even for nothing.
And how many months or years does it take to start production of a new modern car from scratch, without ready-made bogies, engines, gearboxes and in the complete absence of domestic electronics? And what will the workers and foremen of Avtoframos be busy with during this period?
But even if the mayor's office + KAMAZ create something in record time, how much will the new miracle of the automotive industry cost? Wouldn't it turn out that any similar foreign cars, even if they were imported into the country by "crooked" routes, would be much cheaper?
And you can't say that the future Moskvich has no competitors at all in the utterly cut down Russian market. First, there will be the Chinese. Secondly, the Koreans, who do not seem to be going anywhere. Thirdly, the Japanese, and fourthly, gray imports... So one bright idea of import substitution on the basis of the principle "we won't stand up for the price" is clearly not enough for the future Moskvich. The organizers of the process will require remarkable talents.
And if they don’t do it, everything will turn into a waste of budget billions.
We, however, are not accustomed to such embarrassment either.