Russia to Start Production of Putin’s Limousine at a Former Toyota Plant

Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin via /File Photo
The Aurus Senate limousine carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin drives prior to an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 7, 2024.

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will start making Aurus luxury cars, which are used by President Vladimir Putin, at a former Toyota factory in St. Petersburg this year, Denis Manturov, the acting deputy prime minister, was cited as saying on Tuesday.

The Aurus Senat, retro-styled after a Soviet-era ZIL limousine, is the official Russian presidential car and Putin arrived at his Kremlin inauguration ceremony in an Aurus limousine on Tuesday. Putin also presented one of the vehicles to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February.

Manturov was cited by Russia’s state TASS news agency as saying that production at the St. Petersburg plant should start by the end of 2024 and that the former Toyota factory had been handed over to Aurus a long time ago.

Toyota transferred the factory to state company NAMI, which has a majority stake in the Aurus brand, in March last year.

Aurus Motors began making its cars in Russia’s Tatarstan region, around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from Moscow, in 2021.

Russia is looking for ways to use car factories left idle after some global automakers withdrew from the Russian market following Putin’s decision to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

According to Russian analytical agency Autostat, forty Aurus-branded cars have been sold in Russia so far this year.