After investing some $190 million in development via a public-private partnership project dubbed "Kortezh", the Russian state has revealed that a new presidential limousine designed specifically for Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon enter mass production at a factory in the eastern region of Tatarstan, as the government hopes sales of the bulletproof limo will help offset some of that investment.
According to RT, the first mass market iterations of the Aurus will roll off the production line in 2020. The cars will be built at a factory owned by Russian carmaker Sollers, which is located in the special economic zone of Alabuga, Tatarstan Republic, according to the Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
The factory should be able to handle producing about 5,000 of the vehicles per year. The Aurus, as the limo is called, is currently being produced by the state-run Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute, which has an annual output of about 250 cars - far below the level needed to meet demand, according to the Russian state. The Aurus is presently being produced in a limo and a sedan model, with an off-road vehicle set to enter production some time in 2021-2022.
The project that led to the car's development was initially intended to bolster Russia's domestic auto industry by ensuring that more cars were produced in Russia using domestic parts. But it ran massively over budget during the five years it took to develop the car.
Putin debuted the car to the world when he rode in it during his summit with President Trump in Helsinki:
The car made its debut as a mass-market vehicle at the Manila International Auto Show earlier this year:
Maybe if sales are robust, the Aurus could inspire copycats: For example, maybe the Vatican would consider a mass-market version of the Pope Mobile.