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Russia to Spend $370M on Limousines for Officials

The government will spend 12 billion rubles ($372 million), on the development of limousines for high-ranking government officials, a news report said Thursday.

Automobiles for top-ranking politicians will retain the historic ZIL brand, while additional sport utility models will most likely be manufactured under the Russo-Balt or Marussia brands, Kommersant reported.

Production of the new models, with an expected output of 5,000 to 20,000 cars per year, is expected to be set up in Moscow by 2017.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich held a meeting at the Central Automotive Research Institute on Wednesday dedicated to the project, called Kortezh, or Motorcade. The institute will design the new models in cooperation with actor Nikolai Fomenko's manufacturer Marussia, and the first prototypes are expected by 2014 to 2015, a source in the automotive industry told Kommersant.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's GAZ group, headquartered in Nizhny Novgorod, is another major contender for the project, but the Moscow government has reportedly been actively lobbying for organizing production in the capital.

The preliminary price of a Kortezh passenger sedan will be 2 million rubles, while the sport utility version will cost about 3 million rubles.

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