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29 Aug, 2010 02:30

Fast and luxurious on display in Moscow

This year's Moscow International Motor Show show is attracting millions. Although many can not afford what is on display, retailers are not losing hope while offering the latest autos.

The fast and the luxurious… Thousands are turning up to run their hands down some very shiny paint at the event.

On an area the size of eight football pitches, exhibitors from all over the world are showcasing more than 600 cars.

Foreign carmakers hope it will be the start of big things in Russia.

“The majority of our sales currently come from Moscow and St Petersburg, but we are expanding our retail network to the far corners of Russia and you know how large this country is,” said head of General Motors in Russia, James Bovenzi.

It is estimated that this year's show will attract more than 1.6 million visitors keen to see the latest luxury models. Luxury seems to be the hallmark of this year's event, with fewer middle or low range vehicles on display.

However, some new brands here are working to make their mark on any prospective Russian buyers.

“We are focusing on high level service and also we want to purchase more advertising and help more and more Russian people to know the Chery brand and learn about our products and like our products,” said Vice President of Chery Motors, Feng Ping.

After the economic crisis, it seems Russians are once again finding the credit to buy cars, though not many of those are autos found at this show.

Russian carmakers are also here in force, hoping to show they can keep up with the competition.

“First, we are a commercial manufacturer and that is where our strength is,” said president of Gaz group, Bo Andersson. “Second, we have what I think is one of the best manufacturing plants for passenger cars in Russia and we are working to find a solution where we can use the people, we can use the investment and we can help Russia to build locally built, world-class produced vehicles.”

Some foreign manufacturers are also seeking to boost production and woo Russian customers by teaming up with domestic producers like Nissan and joining forces with Russian carmaker Avtovaz.

“We could imagine that with the Avtovaz partnership we could look to more massive production and with the St Petersburg plant, to develop the brand model for Nissan, the model having high brand content,” said Goupil de Buille, Nissan General Director in Russia.

But amidst all the concern about economics, does anyone remember the environment? Well, some do.

“Of course we are going to work on our engines and on our design and about everything to make sure that we remain a leader in terms of environmental issues,” said head of Peugot International, Vincent Rambaud.

Whether it is environmental credentials, the latest in automotive fashion, or just sheer power you want, you are likely to find it at the show. However, the one thing most of these cars are not friendly to is … wallets.

Ironically, the rise of the Moscow Motor Show has lifted most of the cars here out of the reach of the majority of Russians. Still, it does not detract from the spectacle of looking at what you could drive if you had the money.