Putin’s car producer to roll out Aurus cabriolet for 2020 V-day parade (PHOTOS)
Aurus made its debut in May this year, when the limousine version of the car line was used by Vladimir Putin during the inauguration ceremony after reelection. The presidential car pool has since included several sedans for Putin’s motorcade, while a minivan is currently undergoing the last phase of trials.
On Wednesday, Aurus made its official bid to become an established commercial brand, in addition to producing the official presidential car, with a presentation at the Moscow International Automobile Salon. The company showed a dark purple Aurus sedan and a limo, which differ from those in the Kremlin garage as they lack heavy armor plating – hence they are not as prone to guzzling gallons of gas.
And soon there will be a cabriolet version of the car as requested by Russia’s defense ministry. Convertibles are needed for a specific purpose – to carry the incumbent defense minister and the official commander of the parade during annual V-day parades in front of the troops during inspection.
Currently the ministry has three ZIL-41041 cabriolets – two for the actual job and one as backup. They may be an improvement compared to Kumir, the stallion ridden by Georgy Zhukov during the original 1945 parade, but are still somewhat outdated in appearance, compared to Aurus limo.
Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who played key role in the project, said the new convertible could be available as soon as May 2019, but will definitely be ready by the 2020 parade.
He also gave a progress update on an SUV derived from the project, which may or may not eventually be sold under the Aurus brand. The SUV currently exists as a demonstration model, but a working prototype is expected to be ready early next year, the minister said.
Aurus is eyeing the international premium car market , with reports earlier that the United Arab Emirates is considering a multimillion dollar investment into the company. The Russian minister however insisted Western markets, rather than Middle-Eastern or Asian ones, were the prime foreign target for the brand.
Aurus was born out of a project dubbed “Kortezh” by the Russian media, which was aimed at giving a boost to domestic automobile industry by investing taxpayer money into developing a domestic presidential car line. The goal was to have as many components of the vehicle produced locally, importing expertise and know-how as needed. Kortezh is estimated to have cost about $190 million over five years, according to the minister.
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