Russian people’s car.
The leaders of the Soviet Union, seeking for a solution to the heavy lack of cars and technological lagging, decided to build a new mass-producing car factory that could manufacture the products of a foreigner (mostly western) car factory in license, in large numbers, with a long standing technology. After running several thousands of kilometers’ tests, the soviet technicians chose Fiat 124 as the best candidate.
Fiat 124 was presented at the Motor Show of Geneva, and won the 1967 European Car of the Year. It was praised for its technological innovation and smooth drivability. The earlier model of Fiat had already been being produced in several countries in license (eg. Polski Fiat 125p, Zastava, SEAT 1500). The Italian car factory engaged in developing the Fiat 124R, in order to meet the expectations of soviets. They needed to apply some changes, so the cars would be able to adapt to soviet road conditions. Based on this, the soviet leaders signed a license contract with Fiat, which included a clause, stating that the car factory Volga would be built in Togliatti, all technological know-how and documentations of Fiat 124R would be transferred to Italy from the Soviet Union.