The concerns of Soviet motorists
Concerns of Soviet motorists were fundamentally different from the concerns of motorists of Western countries. First, the purchase of a new car was not simply a question of accumulating sufficient money and certainly not a nice conversation with the manager of a local bank, after which it was possible to call the dealer and choose the model of any manufacturer. The purchase of a car in Soviet Union was easier than in the West because of the minimal risk of choosing a wrong car or paying unnecessary fees to a greedy dealer. But in the rest being a Soviet motorist was much harder.
First, he was obligated to pay for the car in cash and the whole amount at one time which was not easy. In 1972 the cost of cheap "Zaporozhets"/ZAZ was equivalent to 4000 dollars (1710 gbp), and "Volga"/GAZ costed 11000 (4730 gbp). For those whose average monthly salary was around $ 180 (77 pounds), the decision to purchase a vehicle meant the refuse for the long term literally from everything. Even highly paid professionals had to save money to buy car for many years.
In addition, since the cars were the deficit, the delivery delay for an already paid car could last for 18 months, and only some “personal contacts” could help to accelerate this process. The offers to buy cars to potential buyers could be made in different ways, but all of them were far from idea of meeting with glossy brochures and pushy dealers. Contrariwisely they all have been linked to a long waiting and those or other bureaucratic procedures.
Most of the cars were distributed by enterprises or through organizations like the labor unions. Thus, the opportunity to buy a car depended on where people worked and which community organizations they belonged to.