KAMAZ was established in 1969 as Kama Complex of Plants to produce heavy-duty trucks (Production Association KAMAZ). In 1990, PA KAMAZ was reorganized into a joint-stock company.
The first vehicle came off the mother gathering conveyor on February 16, 1976. Since then, over 2 million vehicles and about 2.8 million engines have been produced. Each third truck of 14-40 t GVW used in Russia and the CIS countries is KAMAZ. KAMAZ vehicles are used in more than 80 countries.
In 1969, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the USSR Council of Ministers issued a decree on the construction of a complex of plants to produce heavy-duty trucks. 70 options of its location were examined. The city of Naberezhnye Chelny, then a small town on the Kama River, was chosen among them. Its advantages were obvious. Naberezhnye Chelny was located in the very center of the former USSR. The navigable rivers – the Kama and the Volga, proximity to a railway enabled to supply the construction site with building and raw materials, equipment, components, and later to deliver trucks to customers. And KamGESenergostroy – the largest construction organization in the region – built a dam and a hydroelectric power plant generating about 1.5 million kWh of power, constructed factory buildings and houses for future auto makers.
Workers and specialists of 70 ethnic origins from all corners of the USSR assembled at the construction site in Naberezhnye Chelny. Over 2,000 enterprises, all central authorities of Gossnab of the USSR, ministries and agencies supplied KAMAZ with construction materials and equipment. More than 100 thousand people worked at the construction site. The future auto plant was supplied with the most up-to-date process equipment of that time. It received equipment from more than 700 foreign companies including world-known corporations, namely Swindell-Dressler, Holcroft, CE-Cast, Ingersoll Rand from the USA; Busch, Hüller, Liebherr from Germany; Italy’s Morando, Excella, Fata; Renault from France; Sweden’s Sandvik; Japan’s Komatsu and Hitachi. KAMAZ was constructed on empty fields among hills. The builders had to dump and deliver millions of cubic meters of earth in order to smooth out the roughness of the country and do oversite excavation.
On December 13, 1969, the first bucket of earth was dug out at the building site of the Kama auto plant which was intended for the production of 150 thousand heavy-duty trucks and 250 thousand engines a year. The complex of plants on the Kama covered a wide territory of 22 square miles. While the automobile plant was being built, burning communal problems were being solved. KAMAZ provided thousands of people living in barracks and communal flats with comfortable houses, modern educational and medical institutions, kindergartens, numerous centers of culture, sport, recreation and entertainment. Thanks to KAMAZ, a large industrial and scientific center and a developed suburban agricultural zone were created in Prikamye Region.
The city’s population annually grew by 30-40 thousand people. Whereas only 27 thousand people had lived in Naberezhnye Chelny before the construction of KAMAZ started, by the mid of the 90-ies the number of the citizens reached 530 thousand people.
December 13, 1969 – The first bucket of earth was dug out at the construction site of the Kama auto plant.
Autumn 1970 – The first cubic meters of concrete were laid as the foundation of KAMAZ’s firstling – a repair and tool making plant, and also – a shop of grey and malleable cast iron of the foundry plant.
January 1971 – The first 12-storey apartment house for KAMAZ’s workers was constructed in Naberezhnye Chelny.
1973 – The buildings of almost all early production facilities were constructed, the city’s first tram was started, and the first power-generating unit of the heat station was launched.
May 1974 – The first engine was assembled at the design manager’s development shop of KAMAZ.
1975 – Processing equipment was installed, started up and adjusted; trial products were manufactured at all plants of the complex.
December 1975 – The first power unit was assembled at the engine plant with the use of temporary production methods, but without outside help.
February 16, 1976 – The first Kama truck came off the mother gathering conveyor of the automobile plant.
The government of the country approved the master plan for control over the automobile industry. According to this plan, KAMAZ received the status of a production association and became subordinate directly to the Ministry of the Automobile Industry of the USSR omitting all central authorities. December 29, 1976 – The State Commission headed by the USSR Minister of the Automobile Industry V.N. Polyakov signed a document to start up the first line of the Kama complex of heavy-duty truck production plants.
Already by the moment the first line was started up, KAMAZ had got huge production assets. They were twice as high as at VAZ and three times exceeded an average performance, according to the Ministry of the Automobile Industry.
October 1977 – KAMAZ fulfilled its first annual plan ahead of time having produced 15,000 vehicles. By the end of December, 22 thousand units had already been produced.
August 1978 – The 50th truck was produced.
June 1979 – Truck number 100,000 came off the mother assembly conveyor.
Production growth rates at KAMAZ were record not only for this country. April 1980 – The 150-thousandth heavy-duty truck was produced.
February 1981 – Facilities of the second line of KAMAZ were put into operation.
February 1983 – The main event of this year was the establishment of KAMAZautocenter Product Company the main task of which was to provide all KAMAZ vehicles with warranty maintenance and deliver spare parts for them during the whole operating life of a vehicle. Ten years later, it included already 210 automobile centers. The developed network of automobile centers on the vast territory of the USSR and abroad at once brought KAMAZ and its customers together, enabled to quickly react to a customer’s requirements, effectively conduct marketing research, repair vehicles and deliver spare parts as soon as possible. To date, KAMAZ’s automobile centers also turn into actively functioning dealer centers selling vehicles and spare parts.
1986 – KAMAZ vehicles which formed a quarter of the country’s truck fleet used for harvesting at that time transported 60 percent of the harvest of 1986.
1987 – Oka minicar production was set up. On December 21, 1987, the first Oka-VAZ-1111 minicar came off the assembly line. In 1994, the Oka minicar production plant ZMA was put into operation to produce 75,000 vehicles a year. In 2005, ZMA was bought by Severstal-Avto.
1988 – According to experts, since the first days of KAMAZ vehicle production the country had realized a transport profit of about 8 billion roubles from operation of KAMAZ trucks. Thus, already for the first ten years of its work, KAMAZ completely made up all state capital investments in its construction.
On June 25, 1990, the government made a decision to establish KAMAZ Joint-Stock Company on the basis of the property of the production association. KAMAZ became the first among the largest enterprises of the country to enter the epoch of new economic relations. The Charter of KAMAZ Joint-Stock Company was approved at the general meeting on August 11, 1990. The Joint-Stock Company was registered on August 23, 1990.
On April 14, 1993, a fire started at the engine plant and spread to the whole enterprise in a few minutes. An engineering building was almost completely burnt down; the most complicated process equipment was destroyed. Fire damage repair included restoration of 100 thousand engines production capacities and set-up of power unit production on the basis of up-to-date process equipment. With the help of Russia’s and Tatarstan’s governments, KAMAZ employees managed to restore the enterprise for less than a year. Already in December 1993, the engine plant turned out the first products after the fire.
In December 2008, Daimler AG (Germany) acquired 10% of the authorized capital of OJSC KAMAZ. In 2010, Daimler increased its share in the Russian truck producer up to 11 percent. At the same time, four percent of KAMAZ’s securities were obtained by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In November 2009, OJSC KAMAZ and Daimler AG signed agreements to set up two joint ventures – Fuso KAMAZ Trucks Rus and Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok.
In January 2010, OJSC KAMAZ launched the mass production of vehicles with restyled cabs.
In November 2011, OJSC KAMAZ was certified as a 5 star R4E company according to the EFQM Excellence Model.
On February 15, 2012, the 2 millionth truck came off KAMAZ’s conveyor.
In June 2012, Daimler Trucks and OJSC KAMAZ signed a license agreement aimed at strengthening cooperation in the cab production. Under this document, Mercedes-Benz shares its technology of Axor cab production for medium-tonnage trucks, and KAMAZ equips its vehicles of the new generation with these cabs.