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KAMAZ Kama River Plant

Kamaz is a heavy duty truck and bus manufacturer that has few consumer sales. Kamaz's main production facility is in Naberzhnye Chelniy, where it employed 72,000 workers [as of 2009]. The company is owned by the state and a consortium of Russian banks, and its largest client is the Russian military. Despite the fact that the company does not operate in the consumer market and is to some degree insulated from direct competition with foreign truck producers because of state procurement contracts.

When Anatoly Serdyukov was Defense Minister [2007-2012] KAMAZ rewrote TTT and TTZ for itself. And this concerned not only the "Platform", but also "Typhoons", and "Lynxes", and APG, and "Shots", etc. But since November 2012, that is immediately after the resignation of Serdyukov, such a mechanism began to malfunction - in other words, the KAMAZ lobby in the RF Ministry of Defense went down sharply. And then KAMAZ decided to connect the media in order to promote its military development - but even here some breakups occurred: after the press tour to Chelny in March 2013, two significant publications appeared that added a fly in that PR.

Being Russia’s largest truck producer, the company is considered by the state as a guarantor of its transport safety. OJSC KAMAZ is one of 18 strategically important enterprises of the Russian economy. The leader of the Russian automotive industry has for a long time been developing advanced and reliable vehicles and special equipment for the Russian Armed Forces and EMERCOM of Russia. Under a decision of the Government of the Russian Federation, KAMAZ is one of enterprises of strategic importance ensuring Russia’s national security.

OJSC KAMAZ is the market leader in the Russian truck industry. It ranks 13th among the world’s heavy trucks manufacturers and comes 8th among the producers of diesel engines. Today, the KAMAZ Group comprises more than 150 organizations located in Russia, the CIS, and other nations. Moreover, KAMAZ engages in joint ventures with leading manufacturers of automotive components, including ZF KAMA (transmissions), CUMMINS KAMA (engines), KNORR-BREMSE KAMA (brake systems), and Federal Mogul Naberezhnye Chelny (cylinder assemblies). In total, KAMAZ Group employs more than 55,000 employees.

The Soviet Kama River Truck Plant, 500 miles east of Moscow, was built with massive imports of US and West European automotive production equipment and technology. Large numbers of military trucks produced there were later used by Soviet forces in Afghanistan and by Soviet military units in Eastern Europe.

Moscow's plans for a large truck manufacturing complex to be built with western assistance were delayed beyond the Soviets' original projection, which called for a plant producing 150,000 trucks annually by the end of 1974. Following a rebuff from the Ford Motor Company, the USSR approach has centered on Daimler-Benz of West Germany. Likewise, Ford, Daimler-Benz declined to assume major responsibility for the complex. Other western firms including Fiat and Renault eliminated themselves from Consideration before the Soviets indicated they yould offer these companies a chance at major participation.

The Kama River truck plant produced 20 percent of the trucks in the Soviet Union. President Ford strongly supported US industry participation in the Kama River project. The plant was designed and engineered by U.S. firms, and 30 percent of its equipment is supplied from the United States. By 1979 critics claimed the Soviets had been diverting trucks and engines from the plant for military purposes. They also said there was evidence Kama River vehicles were being sent to other Warsaw Pact countries, in "clear violation" of US export control laws.

KAMAZ was established in 1969 as Kama River Complex of Heavy Duty Truck Production Plants (KamAZ Production Association). The first truck rolled off the final assembly line on February 16-th 1976. Since then more than 2 mn. trucks have been made and approximately 2.8 mn. engines have been produced. Every third truck with gross vehicle weight (GVW) between 14 and 40 tons in Russia and in the CIS countries is a KAMAZ truck. KAMAZ trucks are in operation in more than 80 countries all over the world.

The Kama River truck plant, operational in l976, accounted for 75 percent of the growth in the truck industry and about 60 percent of the growth in motor vehicle industry facilities during l976-85. The policy of importation, illustrated by the German large diameter pipe for Soviet natural gas pipelines and the Volga automotive plant built on Italian FIAT design in the Soviet city of Tolgattigrad, the Kama River plant, and other projects, provide insights on and illustrated a long-term expanding commitment to a flow of Western technology and management techniques.

State Corporation Rostekhnologii (Rostec) is a Russian corporation set up in 2007 to assist development, production and export of high-tech industrial products for civil and military purposes. It includes 663 companies which form 8 holding companies of the defense and industrial sector and 5 holding companies in civil industries. Rostec’s companies located on the territory of 60 RF subjects deliver products to the markets of 70 countries. Rostec’s proceeds in 2012 made up 931 billion roubles, the net profit is 38.5 billion roubles. Tax payments to all budgets exceeded 109 billion roubles.

In 1969, the Resolution of the Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party and the USSR Council of Ministers was approved which envisaged construction of a complex of heavy duty truck production plants. 70 potential sites to locate the facilities were investigated. Choice went in favor of Naberezhnye Chelny, then a small town on the Kama River. Its advantages were obvious. So far as its geographical situation was concerned, Naberezhnye Chelny was right in the center of the former Soviet Union. The navigable rivers – the Kama River and the Volga River – as well as proximity of the railway line, were central to meeting all the logistical needs of the construction site for materials, raw materials, equipment, components while, going forward, to meeting the need to ship ready made trucks to customers. The fact that the huge construction company “KamGESenergostroy” existed in the region allowed construction of plant buildings and apartment blocks for prospective KAMAZ employees to be completed.

Workers and engineers, representing more than 70 ethnicities, converged on Naberezhnye Chelny to fuse into a “melting pot” of the construction project personnel. Orders placed by KAMAZ to procure construction materials and equipment were filled by all the ministries and departments, a total of over 2000 enterprises. Over 100 thousand personnel were employed at the construction site itself. The would-be truck plant was being provided with the most state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment by the contemporary standards. More than 700 international firms were among equipment vendors for KAMAZ facilities, including such globally known corporations as Swindell-Dressler, Holcroft, CE-Cast, Ingersoll Rand, Ex-Cello (U.S.A.), Hueller-Hille, Liebherr (West Germany), Morando, Fata (Italy), Renault (France), Sandvik (Sweden), Kamatsu and Hitachi (Japan).

On December 13 1969, ground was broken and the first bucket of soil was excavated at the construction site of the Kama River Truck Plant which was rated for production of 150 thousand heavy duty trucks and 250 thousand engines a year. The Complex of Plants on the Kama River sprawled over a vast territory measuring 57 square km. Concurrent to construction of the truck plant, huge social challenges were tackled. Hundreds of thousands of people were provided by KAMAZ with comfortable housing, modern educational facilities, kindergartens and creches, hospitals and clinics, numerous cultural, sporting, recreational and leisure centers. KAMAZ was instrumental in transforming the Kama River Area into a powerful industrial and scientific research hub and developing the infrastructure for the suburban agricultural zone.

The Soviets planned that the Kama River Truck Project will consist of six main production shops. Moscov's plans for the large truck manufacturing complex to be built with western assistance were delayed beyond the Soviets' original projection, which called for a plant producing 150,000 trucks annually by the end of 1974.

This delay was primarily ascribed to Moscow's faulty assessment of the attractiveness that deal could hold for Western manufacturers. Ford turned down the project after a negative public statement by Secretary Laird. The Mack Truck Company had pending a $700 million export license application and several other companies have made smaller applications. Following a rebuff from the Ford Motor Company in 1970, the USSR approach centered on Daimler-Benz of West Germany.

Like Ford, Daimler-Benz declined to assume major. responsibility for the complex. Other western firms including Fiat and Renault eliminated themselves from Consideration before the Soviets indicated they yould offer these companies a chance at major participation. Most of the equipment for this project can be obtained from Western Europe and there are no export controls hindering shipment from there. The US still demanded specific export licenses for this type of equipment despite the fact that other nations did not do so.

CIA stated that three-axle trucks are not tactical military vehicles, though some could end up in military motor pools. CIA estimated that the Russian expenditures on the entire Kama River project would approximate $3 billion, much of which however would be used to erect factory buildings, workers' housing, etc. CIA estimated that perhaps $1 billion of the total would be used to procure foreign machinery and technology.

When asked whether the Kama River truck plant to which U.S. firms were furnishing equipment could enable Russia to make more military trucks, Commerce Secretary Peterson explained, as late as the summer of 1972, that "the usage of this ... plant will be for peaceful purposes." Slowly, however, the elementary point of economics about the fungibility of factors of production through time left its mark.

In 1972, a US machine tool manufacturer was granted licenses to export three numerically controlled and two tracer controlled milling machines to the Soviet Union's Kama River Truck Plant. These machines were of advanced design and were used to manufacture a variety of special parts for both civilian and military application. The machines were the first COCOM items and the first numerically controlled equipment to be licensed for export from the United States to the truck project.

A positive finding of foreign availability was made during consideration of the licenses. The foreign availability assessment for the numerically controlled machines did include what appeared to be a more comprehensive technical review, which concluded that these machines were available from Sweden, West Germany, and Italy. It also noted that another member had been granted COCOM exceptions to export numerically controlled machines.

Every year the population of the city grew by another 30-40 thousand or so. Whereas before construction of KAMAZ got underway, 27 thousand residents had lived in Naberezhnye Chelny, the current population has now reached more than half a million.

By the end of 1976, over 5,000 heavy-duty trucks of 4 models had been assembled, and some of them had the same number – #1. Many drivers arrived in Naberezhnye Chelny to take their long-awaited trucks and asked to draw this number on bonnets of their new vehicles.

In the second year of mass production of KAMAZ vehicles (1978), the plant became a paying concern. A year before (in 1977), KAMAZ began exporting its vehicles to the far abroad. 5 years passed, and when its second line was launched, the plant mastered production of 8 models, including, for instance, the KAMAZ-5410 truck tractor, the KAMAZ-5511 dump truck, and the first all-wheel-drive vehicle branded KAMAZ-4310. Almost 250 thousand units were added to the fleet of KAMAZ trucks in the USSR and importing countries for these years.

The first 11 years of KAMAZ’s history are usually named “Lev Vasilyev’s epoch” – in honor of the first director general, Hero of Socialist Labor, now a personal pensioner of Russia. In addition to this unforgettable name, KAMAZ workers always remember another name – Fikryat Tabeev, then the first secretary of the oblast committee, who wrung a decision on placement of KAMAZ’s main production facilities in Naberezhnye Chelny from superior bodies of the state. A legendary “KAMAZ spirit” which still distinguished KAMAZ workers came into being in “Vasilyev’s epoch”.

In November 1979 Lawrence J. Brady, deputy director of the Commerce Department's Office of Export Administration, accused Deputy Assistant Secretary Stanley J. Marcuss and others at Commerce of compromising national security through a "massive and systematic cover-up" of the Soviet Union's diversion of U.S. technology to the Soviet military. Brady's charges relate to an IBM computer in the Soviets' giant Kama River truck foundry; the plant was designed and engineered by US firms, and 30 percent of its equipment is supplied from the United States.

Brady claimed the Soviets had been diverting trucks and engines from the plant for military purposes. He also said there was evidence Kama River vehicles are being sent to other Warsaw Pact countries, in "clear violation" of U.S. export control laws. Brady charged that Marcuss and other Commerce officials "misled" Congress in testifying that U.S. export control laws were effectively preventing the flow of critical technology to the Soviet Union.

Trucks from the Kama River plant carried Soviet troops into Afghanistan in 1979, and were used for the support of Soviet conventional military needs. But it was very unlikely that US allies shared the view that trucks were the kind of technology that was central to the strategic position and military posture of the Soviet Union. But US President Carter responded to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by instituting sanctions, canceling several computer sales, and stopping equipment destined for the Kama River truck plant.

During the Cold War, and especially in the 1970s, Soviet intelligence carried out a substantial and successful clandestine effort to obtain technical and scientific knowledge from the West. This effort was suspected by a few US Government officials but not documented until 1981, when French intelligence obtained the services of Col. Vladimir I. Vetrov, ["?Farewell"],? who photographed and supplied 4,000 KGB documents on the program. In the summer of 1981, President Mitterrand told President Reagan of the source, and, when the material was supplied, it led to a potent counterintelligence response by CIA and the NATO intelligence services. President Reagan raised the problem of transfer to the Soviet Union at the Ottawa summit in July 1981. These discussions culminated in a high—level meeting in Paris in January 1982, the first ministerial-level meeting in that organization since the late 1950s.

The marked increase in the quality of Soviet vehicles produced since 1975 improved the ef?ciency of the military and civilian transportation systems. Soviet consumers, institutions, and industries purchased about 75 percent of all cars—about 1 million cars per year over this period. Agriculture and the military each received about 25 percent of truck production, other civilian ?eets received 45 percent, and exports accounted for about 5 percent. CIA estimated that, on average, trucks produced in 1985, versus those produced in l975, can carry about 25 percent more cargo by weight, have about a 45-percent longer service life, are slightly more fuel efficient, and that the aggregate life-cycle carrying capacity of trucks produced in l985 was almost 70 percent greater than that of those produced in l975.

In 1981-87, under the second director general Vasiliy Faustov, production and creative power advanced with seven-league strides at KAMAZ. Every year new models were developed, designed and produced. Three basic models of a “Mustang” family of military vehicles were created, now they are used by the RF Ministry of Defense. Many advanced and breakthrough ideas of KAMAZ designers of those years couldn’t be realized then because there were no appropriate technical feasibilities in the country, and some of them couldn’t be implemented even for political reasons. Those ideas were realized at the beginning of the new century – with KAMAZ’s improved and developed technical capacities and know-how. During the passed 35 years, three generations of KAMAZ designers headed by Vladimir Barun, Ramil Azamatov, and Danis Valeev, have developed over 1,500 models, modifications, and kits in all.

The third director general Nikolay Bekh became the head of the enterprise when it prepared production of its millionth vehicle. It happened in 1988 when the plant produced almost 128 thousand units. During 12 years of its operation, the enterprise completely covered all the means which were spent on its creation. In the last decade of the century, KAMAZ was one of the first largest state-owned enterprises in the country which made an about-turn on the market economy having officially established a joint-stock company in 1990.

In April 1993, a fire seized an engine plant and destroyed this KAMAZ’s production department. Engine Plant, a subsidiary of KAMAZ, was almost completely destroyed by fire. It was restored, and today it has a complete technological cycle of production of diesel engines, and also transmissions and spare parts for them. The plant delivers its products to the mother assembly line of OJSC KAMAZ, vehicle and bus producing plants of the country, service centers and enterprises of the military-industrial complex.

The 1.5-millionth vehicle produced in August 1993 passed unnoticed. The country experienced the deepest economic crisis… In 1997, a team under the leadership of Ivan Kostin came to manage the enterprise. In 1998, they even had to stop production for long 9 months. “Kamikaze”, as these crisis managers were called, saved KAMAZ’s life. And KAMAZ workers themselves preserved production facilities and equipment at that difficult time.

KAMAZ started developing in 2002. “The team of development and growth” formed by director general Sergey Kogogin achieved many goals during the first years of their work: they completely restructured the company’s multibillion debt, renewed engine production facilities, streamlined a product market, reformed and arranged a brand-name dealer and service network, introduced leasing schemes of realization of vehicles “from a manufacturer”, organized cooperation with the state organs of Russia and importing countries in all aspects of the company’s activity, strengthened relations with domestic financial circles, business structures and investors.

In 2010, KAMAZ-Diesel and Cummins Kama Russian-American Joint Venture produced 40,000 diesel and gas engines for trucks, stationary power units and other vehicles – by 42% more than in 2009. This year, the performance is even better – since January, Engine Plant and Cummins Kama Joint Venture have already made more than 30 thousand units.

More than 350 models of weapons and military equipment are installed on KAMAZ chassis. EMERCOM has got a fleet of over 3,500 units of special equipment based on KAMAZ chassis, and actually needed about 5,000 units. It means that EMERCOM will remain one of the most active buyers of KAMAZ vehicles. The Ministry of Interior and KAMAZ have been cooperating since 1976. By 2012, the MOI units had about 1,700 KAMAZ vehicles of various modifications, which made about 30% of the whole truck fleet.

The Typhoon vehicles were specially designed for the Russian army, in the Research and Development Center of KAMAZ (R&D Center). OJSC KAMAZ participated in the VIII International Exhibition of Arms and Military Equipment RussianExpoArms-2011 which was held from 8 to 11 September in Nizhny Tagil. At the exhibition, KAMAZ presented its best achievements in machine building for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. KAMAZ will display a model range of “Mustang” army trucks which are superior to many both domestic and foreign models in their technical characteristics.

The visitors of the exhibition saw such samples of military vehicles as a KAMAZ-6560 high-sided vehicle, a KAMAZ-53501 all-wheel drive truck designed for the needs of the Airborne Troops, a KAMAZ-6350 artillery tractor, modifications of KAMAZ-43269 light armored vehicles designed for land forces and frontier troops, and other models of special-purpose heavy trucks. KAMAZ-6350 artillery tractor on the basis of eight-wheel chassis, its fellow belonging to the line of “Mustang” army vehicles KAMAZ-5350 armored vehicle with an additional protection set and a functional unit, the representative of the line of high payload trucks KAMAZ-65224 side prime mover and KAMAZ-6560 side prime mover demonstrated their riding performance, technical and tactical capabilities, along with the modernized version of KAMAZ-43269 “Vystrel” armored vehicle.

KAMAZ is taking part in the international military patriotic motor rally titled “My destiny is part of Russia’s destiny!” which has lately started in Moscow to run through all hero cities. The rally is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad against Nazi Germany and the 100th anniversary of Alexander Pokryshkin, Marshal of the Soviet Air Force. The event was organized on the initiative of DOSAAF of Russia and the Ministry of Sport under the auspices of the RF Government. During 26 days, the motorcade of forty cars of DOSAAF, several KAMAZ vehicles and bikers of the Night Wolves motorcycle club run through the Russian cities of military glory.

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Page last modified: 12-09-2018 18:50:10 ZULU