Becoming an Automobile Owner in USSR

After World War II, Soviet Union became one of the top automotive producers in the world. Unfortunately for its citizens, majority of the cars produced were exported to fellow communist states, thus, creating a massive shortage of vehicles available to the general public. Since the economy was controlled by the government there were no dealerships. Whatever wasn’t exported was distributed to the factories, farming cooperatives, and government organizations. The government organizations would divide the automobiles amongst the employees, however, the deficit still created long lines and unrealistic waiting lists. Corruption within the organizations played a major role as well, and it was easier for someone in a higher position to obtain the right to purchase, first.

An average family had to wait 10 to 15 years before it was their turn to purchase; that is, of course, if they had the money to do so. An average monthly salary was around 200 rubles, while the car prices were between 6,000 and 13,000 rubles. None of the sales were made on credit, therefore, you had to borrow or save, drifting you further away from the dream of being a car owner.

Scarcity placed a great value on automobile ownership. Cars were an attribute of the wealthy. The social status behind the vehicle ownership was the most influential factor in purchasing a car. Unfortunately, due to the many obstacles, not everyone had the chance to drive a Soviet.