UK Lada History
Lada cars in the UK
The Written Word
SATRA MOTORS LIMITED
The Company was formed in March 1960 and originally traded as
Thompson and Taylor (Russian Cars) Limited, dealing exclusively in
Soviet car imports. In June 1970, the concessionaires were taken over by
the New York-based Satra Corporation and became Satra Motors
Limited. Satra is an abbreviation of Soviet American Trading and the
company was formed to promote trade between East and West.
In mid-1970, Satra Motors started to import the then new Moskvich
vehicle and sales increased dramatically over the previous year's figures.
Expansion of the Satra dealer network, combined with an energetic sales
drive for the new model, accounted for an increase from 20 dealers and
sales of 300 cars in 1969 to 268 dealers and sales of 14,500 cars in
1973. In May 1974, the first of the new Lada 1200 range - a saloon and
an estate - became available.
A new subsidiary company - Satra Belarus Limited - was formed in April
1974 to handle to distribute Soviet Belarus agricultural tractors to the UK
market, following a twelve month testing programme with twelve wheeled
and crawler tractors.
Negotiations for the importation of Soviet motorcycles commenced in the
autumn of 1973 and Satra Belarus subsequently took over the UK
concession from Wells Motorcycles Ltd of Manor Park, London.
The Moskvich 1500 range and the Lada 1200 range were distributed
from the Satra Motors Car Importation and Preparation Centre, Carnaby
Industrial Estate, Bridlington, North Humberside.
Why Carnaby? A deep water port on Britain's east coast was needed for
car imports and nearby Hull provided the perfect solution.
In 1989, the company's sales and administration departments moved to
the Midlands and the following year Satra was taken over by TKM, giving
it a solid foundation for the '90s. Shortly afterwards, TKM itself became
part of the Inchcape group, the world's largest independent importer and
distributor of motor vehicles. And so Motor Vehicle Imports was born.
The 'MET' office where technicians linked
an extractor system to the car's exhaust
and the shock absorbers and suspension,
brakes, steering geometry and handbrake
were fully-computer tested to strict limits.
Engine power output was also measured
as were the exhaust emissions.
The Carnaby Car Park, the destination of
every Lada bound for one of the many
right hand drive markets after it left
Togliatti for the Estonian port of Tallin for
its 2,000 mile journey to the Lada Import
Centre in windswept East Yorkshire.
Each car in its parking bay was recorded
so that a dealer processed order could
be picked easily and quickly, taken
through a high-tech de-waxing unit and
car wash before entering the main fitting
bay, the Mechanical, Electrical and Trim
LADA OWNERS CLUB of GREAT BRITAIN