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Berlusconi-mobile: Putin test-drives Italian PM's SUV

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has driven a limited model, metallic-gold Patriot with a Russian-Italian engine, made for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, off the production line before delivery.

Berlusconi wished to buy the model during a meeting in St. Petersburg in October.

On Tuesday, Putin unveiled a plant in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok to assemble Korean cars. The Russian PM also took a tour of the plant's assembly room.

"You promised Berlusconi a discount," Putin reminded Vadim Shvetsov, the auto holding's director.

"Yes, we will honor a 10% discount," Shvetsov confirmed.

Speaking to plant workers on Tuesday, Putin said Russia will continue reviving the domestic car industry, which was hard hit by the global financial and economic crisis.

The project was launched a year after the federal government raised import duties on used cars, angering drivers and businesses in the Far East, who relied almost exclusively on imported Asian cars.

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