The Aleko (as it was known in Europe) looked remarkably similar to the 1510/Alpine, although the flanks look much more solid than the original, thanks to the loss of its sharp swage lines.
First shown in Europe at the 1988 Paris Salon, the Moskvich Aleko was seen as a huge advancement over its predecessor, and along with the Lada Samara, it heralded the Russia car industry's arrival into the 1980s. However many factions in the press commented on its simlarity with the Talbot 1510, and wondered if the car was the result of a collaborative effort between the two companies. PSA stated firmly that there were no links between the companies, and that the resemblance was purely coincidental. The styling link between the two was put down to Eastern European plaigarism. There has since been considerable retrospective speculation that perhaps Chrysler and Moskvich discussed plans, although no evidence has yet surfaced which would corroborate this theory. In fact, when asked about the Moskvich Aleko, and whether it was linked to the Alpine in any way, Roy Axe said a firm "no".
What is known is that Moskvich bought a number of Alpines when it started developing the Aleko… The Aleko was imported into some European markets, and occupied the budget end of the market where East European products traditionally resided. Production continued into the 21st century although Moskvich endured some tough times in the late 1990s. Many Alekos were left to languish in compounds, half-built, due to a shortage of money with which to pay suppliers. Later models, ironically, offered the option of Renault engines!
...just for comparison's sake.
The Moskvich 2141 Aleko is directly based on the Simca body. The Simca was shown in an exhibition of French technology held in Moscow in the late seventies; heads of the Communist Party liked it and ordered Moskvich to make a copy. I have heard that first batch of Alekos made for factory testing in the early eighties had actual Simca bodies with a modified front end. The Moskvich factory went bankrupt in 2001.
With thanks to Andy Thompson for additional information
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