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KAMAZ (Russian: Камский Автомобильный Завод – КАМАЗ, translit. Kamskiy Avtomobilny Zavod, lit. 'Kama Automobile Plant') is a Russian brand of trucks and engines manufacturer located in Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan, Russian Federation. It is famous for its cab over trucks. KAMAZ is a portmanteau which stands for a factory on Kama River.
KAMAZ opened in 1976. Today, heavy duty models are exported to many areas of the world including the CIS, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa. The trucks have won the Dakar Rally a record fourteen times. KAMAZ is the largest truck producer in Russia and the CIS. The factory produces 43,000 trucks a year (2014). Reinforced KAMAZ trucks are used by the Russian army.
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 100,000 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), Komatsu 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 150,000 heavy duty trucks and 250,000 engines per 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.
Every year the population of the city grew by another 30-40 thousand or so. Whereas before construction of KAMAZ got underway, 27,000 residents had lived in Naberezhnye Chelny, the current population has now reached more than half a million.
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