Photographs of scale models of two luxury cars that Marussia Motors is developing for senior state officials and the mass market under the so-called Cortege project have appeared on the Internet for the first time.
The project dates to 2012, when President Vladimir Putin ordered government departments to find a domestic alternative to the upscale German car brands, including Mercedes and BMW, in which he and other officials are typically chauffeured around.
A number of domestic firms have been tasked with designing Putin's new limousine. ZiL, which used to produce luxury cars for Soviet leaders, presented Putin with its vision of a presidential machine in December 2012, but he was reportedly unimpressed with the design.
The two firms currently collaborating on the project are Marussia, a Russian sports car maker founded in 2007 that owns it own formula 1 team, and the state-run NAMI auto institute. The companies are now working together on a core blueprint, after which they will split and tailor the joint design to suit different audiences, a Marussia spokesman said, Autovesti reported Monday.
Marussia will develop cars for the general public, while NAMI will produce vehicles for the president's motorcade, the spokesman said.
The cars will be mass produced starting in 2018, Marussia said.