‘Russian gold’: Putin’s iconic Aurus limousine examined in new RT documentary
Vladimir Putin has been using a state-of-the-art Russian-made presidential limousine since 2018, and a new RT documentary now tells the story of how the unique vehicle was conceptualized and built from scratch in just five years.
‘Aurus’ made its public debut on Putin’s inauguration day, in May 2018, with its developers “on tenterhooks” as they watched the live broadcast of the event, during which the vehicle was revealed in public for the first time
“It was like launching a rocket to space. When it drove, everyone clapped,” one of the developers recalled.
RTD’s documentary, ‘Kremlinmobile’, delves into the years of painstaking work by the team at Moscow’s NAMI institute that lead to that historic moment.
The film provides an insider’s look at the difficulties and setbacks faced by the team, from crash tests, evaluations on 15 different road surfaces and all-nighters spent in the assembly shop to disbelief from other manufacturers that the Russian vehicle would stand up to scrutiny.
Aurus underwent at least 60 rigorous tests for safety, visibility, and gas consumption, among others. Its design and construction were altered several times before it made its debut as the presidential vehicle and became a notable player on the luxury car market. Because the Aurus didn’t just fulfil Putin’s requirements for a domestically made presidential limo – its developers also wanted it to become a luxury car for retail clients.
In order to succeed on both fronts and create a vehicle with clear reference to Russia and its traditions, they capitalized on the experience of national and foreign carmakers, while implementing cutting-edge technology such as 3D printing and sophisticated marketing strategies.
Aurus is currently available in sedan, minivan, and convertible retail versions, with the car – which has been dubbed ‘Russian gold’ – priced at up to 24 million rubles ($336,000).
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