August 29, 2018 / 4:02 PM / a month ago

Russia shows off new luxury sedan, Putin limousine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia unveiled a new luxury sedan at a Moscow motor show on Wednesday and also showed off the Russian-built limousine that President Vladimir Putin took for a televised drive during his swearing-in ceremony in May.

An Aurus Senat Limousine is seen through a security glass at the 2018 Moscow International Auto Salon in Moscow, Russia August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The Aurus Senat four-seater sedan was presented to reporters as the latest addition to the nascent Cortege range of Russian-made vehicles championed by Putin. The series is also expected to include a minivan, offroad vehicle and motorcycle.

Slideshow (10 Images)

The limousine, also built under the Aurus brand, had its first public outing in May when Putin used it instead of his usual Mercedes at his inauguration for a new presidential term, sending a patriotic message of Russian self-sufficiency.

Russia has been trying reduce its dependence on imported goods and technology, a drive that has gathered speed since Russia was hit by Western sanctions.

The Aurus series is produced by a Russian research institute known by the acronym NAMI in partnership with Russian carmaker Sollers (SVAV.MM).

Industry Minister Denis Manturov, who took part in Wednesday’s unveiling, said contracts for commercial orders of Aurus cars would be signed from next month, the RIA news agency reported.

He said about 120 Aurus vehicles would be produced next year, adding that the off-road vehicle was expected to enter serial production by the beginning of 2020, RIA reported.

Manturov said an electric Aurus motorbike would enter serial production no sooner than 2020.

The limousine is intended to become the heir to the Russian-made ZIL sedans that for decades transported Soviet leaders.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Edmund Blair

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