Anniversary of the First-Born KrAZ Truck!

09 April, 2014

The 10th of April  1959 is a big day in the history of the Kremenchug Automobile Plant.  This day two first KrAZ-222 Dniepr trucks were assembled. 

These simple and low-maintenance trucks had to bear the brunt of all the hardships of grand construction projects. They became simple workhorses of the period of great achievements, a support on which Soviet economy mostly rested.

First KrAZ trucks can be considered as Ukrainian trucks in spite of the fact they were assembled from drawings and parts delivered from the Yaroslavl Automobile Plant. They have reserved the right to be named the first Ukrainian mass-production trucks. They were at the origin of the new brand “KrAZ” in the world’s automotive history.

“Many of us are concerned about vehicles to be produced by our plant. Our dear reader, you can see a photo showing the YaAZ-222 truck. It is the truck we decided to start production from”. Such a caption appeared under the photo of the YaAZ-222 tuck in a plant newspaper “Harvester Builder” with title in capital letters “Tomorrow’s Products” above and specifications below.

Few in Kremenchug and at the plant could see the YaAZ truck, production of which they had to master. However, a main assembly line went into operation in record-breaking time, four months, and 364 trucks were assembled until the end of the year. All of them rolled off the assembly line directly to factories, construction sites and mines.  

As early as September of 1960 the plant built first trucks with home-made chassis, transfer cases and axles. Production rates rise and 10000th truck, the KrAZ-222 Dniepr, was built the same year, while in April of 1963 the 25000th truck was made.

The history of trademark for the new automotive brand “KrAZ” is not without interest. Conditions of a contest announced in November stipulated the design of the tiniest parts of this trademark. It should be not only decorative element but also serve as bonnet handle and fit exactly into the space provided for Yarsolavl Automobile Plant trademark replacing a bear on the bonnet and plate YaAZ on radiator grille. A commission selected an acronym KrAZ among several versions of logo submitted to the Chief Designer Department. There were propositions to name a new plant and vehicle UAZ (Ukrainian Automobile Plant), KAZ (Kremenchug Automobile Plant), Dniepr, etc. 

The KrAZ-222 truck was in production until July of 1964. The total number of the KrAZ-222 trucks manufactured at the Kremenchug Automobile Plant amounts to 11 641 units. It was succeeded by two dump trucks: the KrAZ-222B and the KrAZ-256.

This model has been discontinued from production for half century. You can hardly see this dump truck except for newsreel and photos. Now the KrAZ-222 Dniepr truck takes pride of place in the KrAZ museum. In 2006 it was refurbished in the development shop. Broken truck with missing parts was found in a truck fleet of Ukraine. A number of original units were looked for in warehouses of various companies and truck fleets. Some missing parts that could not be found were made by the company’s workers in strict accordance with drawings and technologies of the day.

State of the art KrAZ trucks are quite different from their remote ancestors. It became common for them to have axle configurations 4х4, 6х6, 8х4, 8х8. They feature new layout, comfortable cabs, new power packs and innovative body solutions. Their payload capacity is many times higher and fuel consumption is greatly reduced. However, these are as powerful, solid, rugged and low-maintenance KrAZ trucks as before, dignified successors of today’s hero of anniversary, the KrAZ-222 Dniepr truck.


Read 829 times