Putin ‘Unhappy’ With New Limousine
When it comes to cars, pleasing President Vladimir Putin is harder than it looks.
ZiL, which used to produce luxury cars for Soviet leaders, presented Putin with its version of a modern presidential limousine, but he was not pleased with the design, Izvestia reported, citing a Kremlin source.
The company's acting CEO, Sergei Sokolov, quickly denied the report, saying that the president was not shown the ZiL-4112P model, which the automaker boisterously unveiled in October, Autonews.ru reported.
The ZiL-4112P has a 7.7-liter engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, leather seats, worktables and top-notch security features. Izvestia reported that Putin tested the model and said it needed adjustments. It is not known exactly what he did not like.
Anatoly Khrekov, of the presidential property department, was unable to confirm or deny the reports.
If Putin did dismiss the ZiL model, that gives hope to GAZ and Marussia Motors, which are working on their own designs for the presidential limousine.
GAZ expects its model, which is based on the luxury versions of Volkswagen and Audi 8, to be ready by 2014. The project's cost is 4 billion rubles ($130 million).
Marussia Motors has said it would present a completely original model, although it will also have foreign influences. The company said it won't start producing the vehicle until 2015.
Putin had ordered government departments to find a domestic alternative to the upscale German car brands, including Mercedes and BMW, that he and other officials typically use.
The decision on what the presidential motorcade will look like is expected to be made at the beginning of next year.