LuAZ (Ukrainian: ЛуАЗ, short for "Луцький автомобільний завод", Luts'kyi avtomobiln'nyi zavod -"Lutsk car plant") is an Ukrainian automobile manufacturer in the city Lutsk.
The factory was founded in 1951, and was known as LARZ and then LuMZ (Mechanical Factories of Lutz) from 1955. Along with truck repairs, the early products of this relatively small plant were mobile repair shop and refrigerated truck bodies on Moskvitch, ZIL, and UAZ frames.
Its first original design is the sturdy and simple LuAZ-967 off-road vehicle for the Red Army. It originated after the Korean War, when the Soviets saw a need for small off-road vehicles comparable to the American Jeep, to supplement the overly-large and -heavy GAZ-69s then in service. Developed at NAMI (the National Automobile Institute), the prototype, known as NAMI 049, was completed in 1958.
LuAZ's civlian products suffered such a reputation for poor quality, "for a time the LuAZ was the only car that could be bought off the shelf by Soviet motorists".
At the moment, the company is on the verge of bankruptcy, holding together by assembling cars produced by VAZ.
Mergers and acquisitions
The abbreviation of LuAZ exists since 1967. The company was once part of AvtoZAZ holding, but now is a part of the Bogdan group, which also controls bus manufacturing facilities in Cherkasy.
From the period of 1984 through 2002, 67 people were killed by faulty exhaust systems. Apparently, toxic carbon monoxide entered the cabin via the ventilation vents and asphyxiated the occupants.
LuAZ vehicles have been notorious for poor crash test ratings. Consequently, countless people have been ejected from these vehicles in accidents. Seatbelts did not become optional until the 2006 model year.
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