The Automobile Plant URAL dates back to November 30, 1941 when the USSR State Defense Committee ordered to establish new automobile and foundry facilities in Miass based on the evacuated Moscow Automobile Plant named after I.V. Stalin (ZIS). On July 8, 1944, the new automobile plant assembled and released its first ZiS-5V truck.

История автозавода Урал

October 15, 1941: black clouds over Moscow, sleety showers, and columns of trucks near shops and warehouses — all these cars were waiting for cargoes and then driving to Ilyich's Gate. Important documents were being destroyed across institutions and offices. The next day, the decision was made to evacuate the Moscow Automobile Plant named after I.V. Stalin (ZIS). And three days later, the first convoy of factory trucks and buses loaded with machines and equipment, with their headlights disguised and hardly illuminating wet dirty snow, set off from Simonovskaya Sloboda to Ulyanovsk, the Volga Region.

On November 30, 1941 the State Defense Committee ordered to relocate urgently the workers of the foundries, as well as the engine, stamping, and mechanical workshops and their supplementary divisions from Ulyanovsk to Miass, a small town in the Ural region. The workers sent there with their families plunged into heated freight cars again. The chassis workshops which were intended to become the basis for the new plant remained in Ulyanovsk. In addition to car assembly, Ulyanovsk was supposed to produce ammunition and gas generators ZIS-21.

In fact, the construction of military plant No. 316 in Miass began in 1939. In the frosty winter of 1941, day and night, lots of workers were unloading and mounting this equipment right in the open air, and by the middle of the summer, the construction site and the working village were ready.

Due to the lack of supplies, the workers were forced to build many workshops of this factory from wood. This construction site with its own railway line created before the war was prepared for the motor production.

История Уралаза

The first workshop of the Miass Automobile Plant was launched in March 1942, and the first industrial batch was assembled and released in April. Initially, the plant was designed to manufacture engines, gearboxes and rear axles for automobile plants in Moscow and Ulyanovsk, as well as die cast parts for the Shadrinsky branch of ZIS. But the country was in need of cars, and on February 14, 1943 the State Defense Committee decided to migrate the entire production of trucks from Ulyanovsk to Miass.

This is how a provincial town of merchants, artisans and gold diggers became the largest truck production center in the Ural region. The first three-ton truck ZIS-5V was assembled and released on July 8, 1944, and on July 20 the first batch of trucks was sent to the army. The factory released 1,000 vehicles by September 30, 1944 and 3,000 vehicles in total by the end of that year — even despite the unfinished workshops. Only a year after the release of its first trucks, the factory managed to send 6,800 vehicles to the army and to the national economy.

Первые грузовики Урал

In the harsh wartime, the design of the basic ZIS-5 had to be as simple as possible: wooden cabin, bent front fenders rather than stamped ones (this allowed using any steel, even not suitable for rolling), no brakes on front wheels, and a tailgate that served as the only drop side of the flatbed.


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ЗиС Урал

After the end of the Great Patriotic War, the head enterprise in Moscow continued to manufacture the transitional model ZIS-50 (ZIS-5 with a 90 hp engine) for another two years, while in 1951 UralZIS in Miass replaced ZIS-5V with the improved model ZIS-5M having a 77 hp engine The lack of gasoline in the war-torn country and lots of waste wood in the Ural and Siberia regions forced the automobile plants to design and produce gas-powered vehicles. In 1949-1950, the Central Scientific Research Institute of Mechanization and Energy of the Forest Industry of the USSR (TsNIIME) designed and tested several prototypes of charcoal gas generating units TsNIIME-16 for UralZIS-5M vehicles and later offered more advanced Ural-ZIS-332 units. However, when engine runs on wood gas, its power inevitably decreases down to only 45 hp while the load capacity of UralZIS with the gas generator drops by 500 kg. However, a truck equipped with a TsNIIME-16 gas generator unit successfully passed the test run from Moscow to Minsk and back, and since gas generators still remained very attractive in those days, in 1950 NAMI created the gas generator vehicle UralZIS-NAMI G-78A on the basis of TsNIIME-16.

In the post-war period, the urgent need for specialized vehicles forced the engineers to use the UralZIS-5M chassis in dump trucks UralZIS-351, watering and washing machines MPM-1, garbage trucks MS-1 and, of course, fire trucks PMZ-11A. Most of ZIS-5s manufactured in Moscow were either damaged during the war or completely worn out by the beginning of the 50s. However, lots of such vehicles continued to serve in the country's automotive fleet until the seventies, and almost all of them had the shield logo of UralZIS on their the upper radiator tank.

The three-ton trucks from Ural were significantly improved and had many differences from ZIS-5 and ZIS-5V vehicles produced by the automobile plant in Moscow. Since January 1944, the designers and engineers increased the compression ratio up to 5.3, modified the shape of the intake pipes and installed the carburetor MZK-6V. Since 1947, the trucks UralZIS-5V were equipped with three drop sides of the flatbed instead of only one. In 1949, the vehicles were updated with a hydraulic brake drive, and in 1950 the engineers reinforced the rear axle gearbox, installed a new muffler and moved the gas tank from under the driver's seat to the left stiffener of the frame under the vehicle's body. The beginning of the fifties saw a wide range of innovations, such as a reclining spare wheel holder, an interrupter, a distributor with a centrifugal vacuum regulator, and reinforced axle shafts. Then, thanks to the compression ratio of 5.7:1, thin-walled liners used for the connecting rod and for main bearings, as well as chrome-plated upper piston rings, the engine of ZIS-5M was boosted up to 85 hp and the truck's top speed increased up to 70 km/h without any loss of the engine's high flexibility. Such flexibility enabled this vehicle with the minimum speed of 5.8 km/h.

All these changes have significantly improved the quality and performance of the vehicle. However, the model index remained the same, and many drivers even thought that the vehicle produced in the fifties was no different from that from the thirties, manufactured by the automobile plant in Moscow. In the first quarter of 1956, the design of ZIS-5M was updated again with improved units: new steering elements, a larger gas tank, a preheater, and more. The upgraded vehicle produced at the Ural Automobile Plant since the beginning of 1956 got a new model index: UralZIS-355. The truck's exterior featured the streamlined rounded front fenders and the refreshed wheel disks. UralZIS-355 once again became the basis for dump trucks, truck cranes and tank trucks — but this time without fire-fighting attachments.

Hard-working engineers of the Design and Trials Department headed by A.S. Eisenberg, the former engineer from ZIS hired by the Automobile Plant URAL, began to think about the future development of the model range right after the end of the war. And already in 1948, they introduced a prototype of UralZIS — with a wooden cabin, a streamlined hood, and front fenders. The vehicle was officially named “Modernized UralZIS”. It was equipped with a forced 87 hp engine, a drum parking brake, a propeller shaft on needle bearings, and a hand-made cabin with a wooden frame — simply because the plant did not have any pressing or stamping equipment back then. This prototype laid the foundation for another two new UralZIS machines with the load capacity of 3500 kg. Later, they were tested at NAMI, but their layout was criticized by the NAMI experts: it was necessary to push the cabin deeper onto the engine to increase the flatbed and shorten the wheelbase. All their suggestions were taken into account and implemented in the next prototype called UralZIS-353. The vehicle got a new 95 hp engine working at 2,600 rpm and featuring a new layout with a simplified auxiliary drive and the compression ratio of 6.0:1. UralZIS-353 got an alligator-like hood, a cabin with a heater and ventilation, and fenders similar to those in GAZ-51.

The management of the Automobile Plant URAL was about to launch the new truck into production, but could not set up the manufacturing of all-metal cabins due to the lack of stamping equipment. A workaround was found by Andrey Lipgard, who was serving his exile in the Urals back then. He analyzed the situation and suggested using duplicated stamps from GAZ trucks for the manufacture of the cabins. In 1955, four new UralZIS-353 vehicles and the modification UralZIS-354 based on the gas generator successfully passed factory tests.

In 1954 and 1955, the Automobile Plant URAL took part in the Exhibition of National Economy Achievements of USSR and was awarded several medals. On June 13, 1956, the vehicles set off for interdepartmental tests on routes Miass — Moscow — Alushta — Yalta — Simferopol — Moscow — Miass with a total length of 25,000 kilometers. When the tests ended, the Minister of the Automotive Industry ordered to launch the mass production of UralZIS-355M since the third quarter of 1957. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funding and experience at the Ural Automobile Plant, the serial production was postponed by almost a year.

In addition to the cargo truck and gas generator truck, in October 1957 the plant also presented the three-way dump truck UralZIS-358 — an all-wheel drive modification of UralZIS-381 with a transfer case and a front axle adopted from GAZ-63. The UralZIS-355M chassis was used in combination with many specialized bodies, both factory-made and custom. The most popular modifications include milk tankers ATsM-2.3 produced by the Novotroitsk machine-building plant, the fuel tankers ATs-2.6-355M produced by the Emanzhelinsky mechanical plant, the sewage trucks ANM-355M, and the mobile compressor stations APKS-6P-8.

Initially, UralZIS-355M was intended for delivery to the virgin lands, but gradually gained more and more recognition among motor transport workers throughout the Soviet Union. Drivers liked its warm all-metal cabin with a modern heating system, electric windshield wipers and other conveniences missing in ZIS-5. Though not so common in Moscow, Leningrad and other large cities, UralZIS-355M has become the basic vehicle in the truck fleet of Voskresensk near Moscow. The All-Union Foreign Trade Association “Avtoexport” created in 1956 started to offer the truck to foreign buyers, but most of them didn't want to purchase an intermediate model between ZIL-164 and GAZ-51 — however, some UralZIS-355M were sold to Finland and Afghanistan.

The last UralZIS-355M was released on October 16, 1965. Thus, the basic layout of ZIS-5, though transforming over the years, was used in the production of trucks for 34 years.

The fifties saw the beginning of the auto racing history of the Automobile Plant URAL. In October 1957, the all-Union motor sport competition was held in Rostov-on-Don. The event saw 98 vehicles ZIL-150, GAZ-63, and GAZ-51, including six vehicles UralZIS-355V. Though pilots from the Ural Automobile Plant didn't have much experience in such competitions back then, they managed to compete successfully even with the most seasoned drivers. The Ural team took all the first places. In the individual championship, the first place and the title of USSR champion were awarded to the crew of driver P. Terentyev and his mechanic

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In 1962, the Automobile Plant URAL named after I.V. Stalin (UralZiS) was renamed to UralAZ. In 1965, two-axle cars, which had been produced at the plant for more than 20 years, were discontinued. As a result, the legacy conveyor had to be replaced with a newer one. At the end of the same year, the plant launched into production a completely new vehicle called Ural-375 without any interruptions to the manufacturing process. In 1966, the plant was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor — a high government award for the successful production development and improvement.

Советский грузовик Урал

In the mid-60s, the Automobile Plant URAL entered the international market with the new truck Ural-375. The first batch sold to Mongolia was followed by two batches of vehicles purchased by the German Democratic Republic. In 1969, Ural-375D was demonstrated at the International Leipzig Fair and got the gold medal and the 1st degree diploma. In 1972, this vehicle was promoted to the highest quality category and in 1973 the truck got the State Quality Mark which symbolized the technological excellence back then.

In January 1970, the Main Exhibition Committee of VDNKh of the USSR awarded the Automobile Plant URAL with the first degree diploma for the design and production of the cross-country trucks Ural-375Yu for the tropical climate and Ural-377K for the severe climate of the Russian Far North.

In 1976, the Ural Association for the production of trucks was established on the basis of the Automobile Plant URAL. In addition to the head enterprise, it included the Chelyabinsk Forging and Pressing Plant, the Chelyabinsk Machine-Building Plant of Tractor Trailers and the Posevninsky Plant of Spare Parts.

At the end of 1976, the first prototypes of the snow and swamp-going vehicle Ural-5920 were manufactured. In 1981, the first production batch of this vehicles was produced for the Ministry of the Oil Industry. Snow and swamp-going vehicles demonstrate high off-road capabilities in extreme conditions and serve as year-round vehicles for field operations. In 1977, the Automobile Plant URAL launched the production of the first diesel model called Ural-4320, which opened a new era of diesel trucks at the plant. The plant also developed a number of vehicle modifications: Ural-4320 with the carrying capacity of 7 tons, the tractor unit Ural-43202 for towing semi-trailers with a total weight up to 18.5 tons, and the tractor unit Ural-4320 for towing semi-trailers with a total weight of 15 tons in southern regions and in the harsh climate of the Russian Far North.

Урал на гусенице

In 1978, the experimental workshop prepared prototypes of tractors for the timber hauler Ural-6002. By the beginning of 1979, the plant introduced prototypes of the new vehicle Ural-43201 for the Russian Far North. The truck used tires produced by the Omsk plant for operation in the harsh climate with temperatures down to -60 degrees. In 1983, the vehicle Ural-4320 and its modifications were awarded the State Quality Mark. Today, Ural-4320-01 is the basic model of the numerous “Ural” family, with a wide range of special attachments used in various areas of the national economy. In recent years, crew buses, cranes, tank trucks, fuel tankers, fire trucks, mobile repair shops, and lots of other special-purpose vehicles based on the Ural chassis for the timber industry and oil and gas production have become very popular among customers. The plant also produces snowblowers, Troika-2000 and other sophisticated utility machines, which help road workers and utility services perform 10+ operations to repair roads and improve adjacent territories.

Урал для сельского хозяйства

In the eighties, the plant developed and introduced the new agricultural vehicle Ural-5557. The special transport and technological dump truck could operate in the temperature range of -45 to 40°C in both Central Asia and the Russian Far North. Thanks to its powerful off-road capabilities and optimal transmission ratios, the vehicle could work in the fields with various agricultural machinery. Ural-5557 successfully operated as part of road trains and demonstrated high performance due to its high maximum speed (70 km/h) and carrying capacity (14 tons). The truck chassis was adopted for the installation of various bodies and special attachments. Wide-section tires with the pressure regulation enable the vehicle with high off-road capabilities on soils of different density. New ventilation and heating systems, as well as the automatic remote control of the drop sides of the flatbed by signal from the cockpit provide the driver's with greater comfort in any conditions.

In 1983, the plant started the small-scale production of Ural-5557. In 1985, the Automobile Plant URAL was awarded the Order of the October Revolution for the successful fulfilment of government assignments in the automotive production. By February 21, 1986, the plant released 1,000,000 Ural vehicles in total. In 1989, the plant manufactured the first four-axle vehicle Ural-5323 with the unified cabin from KamAZ.

Миллионный выпуск Урала
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In the 90s, the plant experienced severe difficulties due to a sharp decline in the vehicle production. The most dramatic period in the history of the plant lasted from 1992 to 1998. The plant reduced its output down to 2,489 vehicles in 1998 — by 12.6 times compared to 31,371 vehicles in 1991! The automobile plant had to master the production of non-core products. The plant spent 938.5 million rubles on its re-construction and re-equipment. The situation began to improve: the plant managed to recover its production completely, increase its volume by 2.4 times and increase the total production of vehicles by 4 times, showing the 130% average annual growth (5,470 vehicles in 1999, 8,500 vehicles in 2000, and 10,010 vehicles in 2001). To preserve the unique production facilities, a new enterprise Automobile Plant URAL JSC was established on the basis of the plant.

In 1999–2000, the engineers developed and put into production a new model range of transport all-wheel drive cabover trucks with the carrying capacity of 10-12 tons and a range of multi-purpose vehicles with the carrying capacity of 6 and 10 tons. The engineers developed and launched the the serial production of 3 types of new crew buses: Ural-3255, Ural-32551, and Ural-32552. In 2000, their total production volume reached 28 vehicles.

Since 2003, the plant began to grow its annual output again by 30% on average. In 2004, the vehicle builders started the implementation of the lean manufacturing principles. This allowed the plant to create reference areas for assembling of vehicles, cabins, etc. The new system made it possible to increase labor productivity by 2 times, reduce costs by 3 times and reduce waste by 4 times.

Специализированный грузовик Урал

In November 2005, the plant released the first road truck of the new model range — the dump truck Ural-63685. In 2005, the plant developed special railroad cars with built-in repair shops for the Russian Railways. The plant also developed and manufactured the special crew buses for the oil and gas industry, and a pilot batch of unified metal platforms.

In 2005–2007, the company mastered the production of passenger and utility vehicles equipped with hydraulic manipulators. In 2006, the plant developed a special platform with the 8x8 chassis configuration for the installation of oil rigs.

Вахтовый автобус Урал старого образца

Ural vehicles with box bodies were demonstrated at multiple exhibitions across Russia: in Surgut, Novokuznetsk, Moscow, and Khanty-Mansiysk. In terms of their consumer properties, the Ural crew buses simply had no competitors on the market in this class of off-road vehicles. In 2007, the plant released 987 crew buses, including shorter buses with 24 seats and longer buses with 28 seats.

In 2008, the total annual production of vehicles at the Automobile Plant URAL reached 15,158 vehicles.

In 2009, the plant introduced a pilot batch of the new off-road vehicles Ural-4320-58 equipped with the three-seater comfortable cabover and the sprung driver's seat. Be default, these cars are equipped with YaMZ-236NE2 engines (230 hp), which can be replaced with YaMZ-7601 engines. The car is also compatible with special-purpose attachments. In 2010, the new core machine Laempe and the new biochemical absorption station were presented at the core production area of Foundry No.4. The newly implemented manufacturing process made it possible to produce rods of any complexity for steel, iron and non-ferrous casting.

In 2009, the plant introduced a pilot batch of the new off-road vehicles Ural-4320-58 equipped with the three-seater comfortable cabover and the sprung driver's seat. Be default, these cars are equipped with YaMZ-236NE2 engines (230 hp), which can be replaced with YaMZ-7601 engines. The car is also compatible with special-purpose attachments. In 2010, the new core machine Laempe and the new biochemical absorption station were presented at the core production area of Foundry No.4. The newly implemented manufacturing process made it possible to produce rods of any complexity for steel, iron and non-ferrous casting.

In 2010, the plant launched the serial production of the all-wheel drive vehicle Ural-32552-3011-59 with a 4x4 chassis configuration. The vehicle can be produced in several versions: a crew bus, a high-sided truck, and a chassis for various attachments. Since 2010, the automatic hydraulic pipe bending machine operates at the section of workpieces of the universal technology workshop. The machine is designed for bending various exhaust pipe workpieces at a wide range of bending angles.

Старый и новый Урал

In 2013, the company started to develop a new vehicle within the Ural-M project. One of the key priorities in the development of vehicles under the Ural brand is the continuous updating of its model range. The customer-oriented approach is the core principle of our work. In 2014, the Automobile Plant URAL launched the mass production of the upgraded four-wheel drive vehicles Ural-M. The Ural-M family which is based on the serial chassis Ural-4320 includes a wide range of cabover vehicles with 4x4 and 6x6 chassis configurations. The engineers made about 50 changes and technological improvements to the design of Ural-M vehicles.

Урал XXI века

At the beginning of July 2015, the new generation vehicle “Ural NEXT” intended to increase the Ural's market share on the heavy trucks market was introduced at the International Specialized Exhibition “Construction Equipment and Technologies”. While keeping the traditional advantages of “Ural” along with its unique off-road capabilities and high functionality, Ural NEXT has increased reliability and comfort for drivers through improved steering and lower fuel consumption. The new cockpit module is installed on our deeply modernized chassis with high-tech aggregates. The modern appearance and interior, spacious and comfortable cabin, ease of operation, and excellent ergonomics are backed up by advanced design solutions and components that meet international quality standards. The vehicle has become even more reliable and comfortable, with better steering and operational efficiency. The production and sales of Ural NEXT were launched in 2015.

In 2016, Ural NEXT was awarded the Truck of the Year title following the results of the most prestigious competition in the commercial vehicle production: the 16th annual competition “The Best Commercial Vehicle of the Year in Russia”.

In 2018, the Automobile Plant URAL announced the mass production and the start of sales of the brand new road trucks. Ural NEXT 6х4 can be used on both public and industrial roads.

Урал XXI века

The model range includes dump trucks with the carrying capacity up to 15.6 tons for bulk cargoes, tractor units with the gross train weight up to 62 tons, and the chassis for various special-purpose vehicles and attachments.

The plant is going to produce a large variety of special-purpose vehicles based on the Ural NEXT 6x4 chassis, including truck cranes, vans, garbage trucks, tank trucks, fuel tankers, combined road vehicles, and more. Ural NEXT 6x4 vehicles can work in any conditions, on any roads and any surface, and, what's more important, they take care of the comfort for the driver and passengers. In addition, low cost of ownership, long time to maintenance (up to 30,000 kilometers), and one of the best warranty conditions for trucks (36 months, or 150,000 kilometers) make these vehicles especially attractive to customers.