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For UAZ tractors, see UAZ tractors.
Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (UAZ)
Type Subsidiary of Sollers JSC
Founded 1941
Headquarters Ulyanovsk, Russia
Industry Automotive
Products SUVs
Off-roaders
Buses
Trucks
Website Official UAZ website
SeverstalAvto Site on UAZ
UAZ-469 stella at UAZ plant in Ulyanovsk

UAZ-469 stella at UAZ plant in Ulyanovsk

UAZ (УАЗ), Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Ульяновский Автомобильный Завод) is an automobile manufacturer based in Ulyanovsk, Russia which makes SUVs, buses and trucks. Production started in 1941.

History Edit

Creation Edit

In 1941, after the start of Great Patriotic War, Stalin's government made every effort possible to try to save Soviet industry from being captured by the German army. So, in 1941, because of rapid advances by the Germans on Moscow, a decision was made to relocate ZIS - a Moscow car and freighter manufacturing plant - further away from the front line. Such a place was Ulyanovsk, a town in Volga region with existing infrastructure and skilled workers, but out of reach of German army. At that time, the plant was considered a subsidiary of ZIS. By 1942, the production of artillery shells and cars began.

In 1943, when the prospect of Germans winning the war was less likely, a decision was made to separate the relocated plant from ZIS. This was a part of general after-war policy conducted by Stalin's government in which relocated plants were separated into different units, since all the required buildings had already been erected. The existing plants before relocation were filled with (often - German) equipment, thus bursting the industry.

A logical choice for the newly created plant was to produce military and paramilitary cars, mostly due to its distance from the border. Therefore, in mid-1950es the production of the only Soviet offroad car, GAZ-69, was moved to Ulyanovsk. This car marked a beginning of a famous line of offroad vehicles manufactured by the plant.

Golden age Edit

By mid-60es, the new management of the plant completed development of first original [U]AZ cars. The GAZ-69 offroad vehicle was replaced by UAZ-469. UAZ-469 was very similar in design to the original Jeep - a sturdy, but not-so-comfortable car that was able to drive in virtually any terrain and was easy to fix. The Uaz-469 reached legendary status for its reliability and off-road ability. The car didn't enter the personal use market until late 80s and was reserved for police forces and paramilitary (its commercially-available analog was produced by LuAZ, which was too close to border to be associated with the military).

In 1966, UAZ rolled out its pickup-truck/minibus UAZ-452, which received a warm welcome by the farmers due to its convenience and offroad capability. Although this automobile was mostly reserved for police and army use, it has seen much more civilian use than most other UAZ cars.

The UAZ-469 and its modifications has gained legendary status all over the world for its off-road ability, reliability and simplicity. Due to the vehicles reliability and capabilities it is to this day loved and used by off-road enthusiasts all over the world and is a welcome alternative to the US Jeep, British Land Rover and Japanese Land Cruisers due to its lower costs and similar characteristics.

Crisis Edit

After the collapse of Soviet Union, UAZ has started feeling the heat. On one hand, people were willing to buy its cars due to its high reputation; on the other hand, most preferred used imported offroad cars due to the lack of reliability of UAZ cars made in the 90s. UAZ produced a slightly modified version of its original UAZ-469 car, UAZ Hunter, but the sales were still lacking.

NOTE: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, UAZ experienced many financial problems which resulted in poor quality control and cost cutting which resulted in the production of low quality UAZ automobiles compared to those made in Soviet times.

In 2004, the plant was bought out by the Severstal financial group, which made many investments in the firm and had also bought the ZMA car plant in Naberezhnye Chelny.

In 2005, a new SUV-like car, UAZ Patriot, was unveiled. Extensive use of third-party parts (which finally allowed UAZ to replace its notorious transmission with a better, Korean-manufactured one), large capacity, good offroad capabilities and affordable price (<15,000 USD) predict good sales in Russia. UAZ unveils a new 4 door pickup truck.

Reliability Edit

The UAZ-469 (and its modifications) has earned a reputation as a very reliable and capable 4x4. It has gained huge popularity among off-road enthusiasts within Russia, former Soviet republics as well as Europe, Asia, South America and Africa, and is preferred by many over other legendary 4x4’s such as Land Rover, Jeep and Toyota.

One of the main reasons the 469 has enjoyed such popularity is its deliberately simple design, which allows for easy maintenance and repairs. Its simplicity is a deliberate design feature for 2 main reasons: the requirements of the Soviet Armed Forces, as well as the little known fact that most people in the Soviet Union / Russia prefer to fix their cars themselves as opposed to taking them to an authorized mechanic.

Furthermore: the UAZ's simplicity, easy maintenance and extremely inexpensive spare parts allow the car to last much longer than more expensive and complicated western 4x4s. Even the most complicated and costly repairs can be done by the owners themselves, and rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars.

Reliability Issues: although the UAZ has proven to be a reliable 4x4, there have been a few problems with the car’s reliability that have slightly hurt its reputation.

The transmission of the original 469 has been known to have problems when not maintained properly (as the owners manual dictates). Another major problem within Russia has been the production of counterfeit parts made out of cheap metals.Furthermore, the 90’s (after the fall of the Soviet Union) saw a significant decline of quality in the assembly of UAZ vehicles as the company struggled to survive and could not afford to pay the salaries of its employees.

Other problems have been encountered with the modernization of the vehicle, as many of the new electrical and cosmetic parts have been of poor quality. To combat these problems, and return the reliability and dependability of UAZ vehicles to their former standards the UAZ Company has recently introduced a new Quality Control system which has reduced the number of UAZ vehicles with defects arriving in showrooms around the world.

Gallery Edit

Trivia Edit

  • The Russian nickname for the UAZ-469 is "Козёл", which means "goat".
  • The Russian nickname for the UAZ-452 is "Буханка", which means "loaf" (of bread).
  • There is a saying that "A UAZ will break down where no other car can go". Referring to the reliability of UAZ cars.

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

External links Edit

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