If you’re in the market for a new car, you may be considering getting one of the many different makes and models of Russian vehicles on the market.
The problem with this idea? There are very few real options available to you if you want to get behind the wheel of a Russian vehicle.
Thankfully, your search will be over soon; this list of the top Russian car brands will help you find out which cars are available and which ones are best to avoid!
Best Russian Car Brands
KAMAZ is an automobile manufacturer based in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia. It is one of the leading Russian car brands producers. KAMAZ has constructed more than 500,000 vehicles since it was established in 1966.
With annual production rates reaching 160 000 units, KAMAZ is one of Russia’s most extensive vehicle manufacturers.
The company is part of Kamaz Holding, which owns the Ural Automotive Plant and AvtoVAZ (AvtoVaz). In 2008 KAMAZ became a member of GAZ Group.
The GAZ Group (or Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod in Russian) is an automobile manufacturer based in Nizhny Novgorod.
They’ve been making cars since 1932, and people consider them to be one of the Russian car brands manufacturers. One of their most popular models is the Pobeda, which means victory in English.
In 1957 there was such a demand for them that they were made by hand! Because production numbers were low, GAZ decided to produce every component themselves rather than outsourcing parts from other automakers.
They even built their tooling! Of course, you can also buy cheap cars online through sites like AutoTrader or Beepi.
LADA is easily one of the famous Russian car brands. The automaker started in 1966 as AvtoVAZ and was a direct competitor to foreign brands like Volkswagen and Fiat.
LADA has been through many iterations since its launch. This includes taking over from Yugo in the former Yugoslavia.
It is still one of Russia’s top car manufacturers with some credibility outside its home country. In 2014 LADA sold more than 300,000 vehicles worldwide.
LADA makes for an exciting buy for anyone looking for solid Soviet nostalgia and reliability that doesn’t cost too much (relatively speaking).
The UAZ is one of the most recognizable and well-known Russian car brands.
The UAZ brand was initially founded as an acronym for Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, which translates to English as Ulyanovsk Automobile Factory.
This factory in Russia has been producing many different car brands since 1950. Its focus is on military vehicles, motorbikes, and various utility vehicles.
With that being said, however, there are several small SUVs available today under these iconic letters.
Since 1987 it has been owned by General Motors. In 2018 alone, it sold about 2700 cars across nine different models at a relatively affordable price point.
The Marrusia car brand is known as one of the best Russian car brands. It might be one of only a few that has made its way into some foreign markets.
The Marrusia brand has been around since 1962, and it was initially part of AvtoZAZ.
For many years it was known as Zhiguli (ZAO). After independence in 1991, they tried to market under that name but eventually changed to Marrusia due to licensing issues.
Today, Sollers JSC owns it, which also owns Kamaz and Hyundai. Its headquarters are in Volgograd and have several manufacturing plants in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.
The Volga was initially built in Ulyanovsk, and they named it after one of the oldest Russian car brands.
The first Volga rolled off assembly lines in 1966 and was so popular that it was exported to several other countries.
It has come to be associated with wealth and high status but has also earned some criticism for its outdated design.
One model—the Volga M21—was developed for use by Soviet police. Like most Russian car brands on our list, you can still find them all over Europe today.
However, they’re not as popular elsewhere as in their home country and don’t often make it to North America. If you do manage to spot one on these shores, congratulations!
Zil is an acronym for Zavod imeni Likhachova, one of several names for KAMAZ (KAvZ), a prominent Russian producer of commercial vehicles.
The company’s name comes from that of its founder, Sergey Vladimirovich Ziliberman (Серге́й Влади́мирович Зильберман). He was also nicknamed after his initials SVZ.
KAMAZ was established in 1941 as a part of number 12 New Central Automotive Works on behalf of Joseph Stalin.
During World War II, it produced trucks and spare parts for military equipment.
Moskvich is one of the oldest Russian car brands, founded in 1933 and producing cars as late as 2007. The name means Muscovite or Moscow citizen.
Moskvich manufactured only microcars and city cars for most of its life until it introduced one sedan model in 1958.
Many modern vehicle designs have their roots in Moskvich. While they did not survive very long in Russia after being purchased by AvtoVAZ (Lada), Moskvich managed to carve out a significant niche during its 60-year history.
You can’t buy love from Russia’s automakers. If you know where to look and what to look for when shopping for Russian car brands, your search for an affordable new or used car will be easier.
Fortunately, North American consumers don’t have to pay import tariffs on vehicles coming into Canada or most of the United States.
The top Russian car brands worth considering today include Lada (brand), Zhiguli (brand), GAZ (brand), Sibir (brand), and KamAZ.
They are known as some of Russia’s top automakers and producers of vehicles both inside and outside their borders. These are just five car brands manufactured in Russia worth exploring more closely.