UAZ (УАЗ), Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Ульяновский Автомобильный Завод) is an automobile manufacturer based in Ulyanovsk, Russia which makes SUVs, buses and trucks. Production started in 1941.
In 1941, after the start of Great Patriotic War, Stalin's government made every effort possible to try to save Soviet industry from being captured by the German army. So, in 1941, because of rapid advances by the Germans on Moscow, a decision was made to relocate ZIS - a Moscow car and freighter manufacturing plant - further away from the front line. Such a place was Ulyanovsk, a town in Volga region with existing infrastructure and skilled workers, but out of reach of German army. At that time, the plant was considered a subsidiary of ZIS. By 1942, the production of artillery shells and cars began.
In 1943, when the prospect of Germans winning the war was less likely, a decision was made to separate the relocated plant from ZIS. This was a part of general after-war policy conducted by Stalin's government in which relocated plants were separated into different units, since all the required buildings had already been erected. The existing plants before relocation were filled with (often - German) equipment, thus bursting the industry.