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A Moscow court this week declared bankrupt the legendary Russian car manufacturer, Moskvitch, which has not produced an automobile since 2001.

The court said that the car maker's debt was currently about 23 billion rubles ($932-million), according to Russian news agencies.

The Moscow car factory was founded during the Stalin era of the Communist regime in 1930 and produced the GAZ-A model that year, followed later by the more famous Soviet Moskvitch models starting in 1947.

The Soviet-era car was never designed for fashion and luxury, but rather was known as a sturdy, reliable sedan at an affordable price.

By the end of the 1980s, the factory had churned out four million cars. But after the fall of communism in 1993, production fell and the factory began its decline.

Although it was capable of producing more than 100,000 cars, only 810 vehicles rolled off the production line in 2001, which turned out to be the last year for the Moskvitch.

In 2002, some 3,500 unemployed car workers called on President Vladimir Putin to give them their unpaid salaries dating back several months.

To pay off debts, the car company tried to rent out its facilities. Part of the former Moskvitch plant has been used by French car maker Renault SA, which installed its Avtoframos factory there to assemble its Logan model. AFP