How the “KAMAZ” brand was created - the story from the first truck to the most advanced automobile plant

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How the “KAMAZ” brand was created - the story from the first truck to the most advanced automobile plant

The first serial truck rolled off the main conveyor of the “KAMAZ” automobile plant in Naberezhnye Chelny on February 16, 1976. It was an airborne “KAMAZ-5320”.

More than half a century later, “KAMAZ” is the largest manufacturer of heavy vehicles, about 2,5 million vehicles and about 3 million engines have been produced under its brand. Vehicles from Naberezhnye Chelny operate in more than 80 countries of the world, and it is not surprising that every third truck on the roads of Turkmenistan and the CIS countries is “KAMAZ”.

The very first “KAMAZ” truck worked in Bashkortostan for a long time, later it was bought by the plant's museum, restored and left as an exhibit. But the history of the plant began much earlier.

In August 1969, the leadership of the USSR decided that the construction of a complex of automobile plants should be in Naberezhnye Chelny. Factories were supposed to specialize in the production of heavy vehicles only.

The location of the city contributed to the construction of factories in this place. The presence of the navigable rivers Kama and Volga, and also the proximity of the railway, made it possible to provide the future auto giant with building materials, raw materials, equipment and components. According to the original project, it was supposed to produce 150 thousand heavy vehicles and 250 thousand engines per year.

The pace of construction was gigantic. In the period from 1970 to 1981, more than 30 thousand units of the most modern technological equipment worth more than 2 billion rubles were installed at the plants of the complex.

Cars from Naberezhnye Chelny quickly gained popularity and became a familiar attribute of any highway in the USSR.

“KAMAZ” began breaking all world records and already in June 1979 the 100 000th truck left the main assembly line.

In 1988, “KAMAZ” founded its own team to participate in the “KAMAZ-master” rally competition. At present time, the team that drives specially modified trucks, is a multiple off-road rally World Cup winner and is recognized as the strongest in the sports truck class.

The crews of “KAMAZ-master” became the winners of the “Dakar Rally” 19 times, and also occupied the entire podium at the “Silk Way Rally”.

Since the mid-1990s, the plant has been actively cooperating with foreign partners to modernize production.

February 16, 2012 - after 36 years, the anniversary 2 millionth truck rolled off the assembly line of the auto giant.

In 2015, “KAMAZ” launched serial production of two new models of truck – the “KAMAZ-65206” truck tractor and the “KAMAZ-65207” flatbed truck, and also introduced electro buses, developed in cooperation with Russian engineering company Drive Electro.

In the same year, the “KAMAZ” plant began the first tests of an unmanned aerial vehicle developed jointly with “VIST Group” OJSC and Cognitive Technologies.

In 2016, the company celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of the first car. The first dump trucks of the new model range “KAMAZ-6580” and “KAMAZ-65802” rolled off the assembly line.

A few months later, “KAMAZ” presented an exclusive concept of an urban transport system using unmanned buses within the framework of the Moscow International Motor Show.

“KAMAZ” became the first among Russian manufacturers to master and introduce on the domestic market a unique model of passenger transport - the “KAMAZ-6282” electric bus, charged from an ultra-fast charging station within 8-12 minutes.

In 2018, “KAMAZ” entered the Moscow market for the first time with a passenger electric vehicle, and two years later received a patent for an electric unmanned truck without a driver's cab - the “Shuttle”.

In 2021, “KAMAZ” introduced new models of K5 generation vehicles to the market - the “KAMAZ-65659” main tractor and two dump trucks – “KAMAZ-65951” (8x4) and “KAMAZ-65952” (6x6), designed to transport various bulk cargo.

A novelty in the line of urban passenger electric transport was also presented - an articulated low-floor electric bus of an especially large class (accordion) and a “KAMAZ-65825” trolleybus with an autonomous run increased to 20 km.

The plant's engineers presented the first “KAMAZ-6290” waterbus to their public in 2021.

The Russian auto giant went through different times, including difficult ones, especially after the fire on April 14, 1993. Today, “KAMAZ” is a prosperous, powerful plant that has created many new models and modifications.

Over its half-century history, the automobile plant has proved that trucks are not afraid of any road and climatic conditions. Equipment on the “KAMAZ” chassis reliably proves itself from the regions of the Far North and the tropics to hot deserts and highlands.

Photo: TASS

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