Putin Wants Volkswagen
That steady hand is, of course, that of former president, currently prime minister (read still president) Vladimir Putin. After last year Putin kinda twisted Renault's arm into helping the dying AvtoVAZ breathe a little longer, the prime minister is now said to want something else.
According to Italian publication La Repubblica, Putin wants... volkswagen. Not the German Volkswagen, but what the German Volkswagen represented a long time ago: a people's car. One which would be cheap, sturdy and what's more, owned by every Russian.
Now, according to reports, Putin asked Mikhail Prokhorov to create the Russian volskwagen. Prokhorov is one of the key players of the precious metals industry in Russia, being the President of Onexim Group and chairman of the biggest gold producer in Russia, Polyus Gold.
The rumor mill grinds even deeper and says the Russian volkswagen is already under development, swallowed EUR150 million of Prokhorov's money and will be ready by the end of the year. That's four months from now...
The car, a hybrid compact said to be designed by Giugiaro, will be sold to every Russian for around $10,000 (EUR7,500). For that money, it will come equipped with an electric motor developing 67 hp, paired with an internal combustion engine no bigger than 0.6l.
La Repubblica says that by the end of the summer, Russia will be holding a nationwide contest to give the car a name. Other than Volkswagen, of course...
Yet, there are still a few loose ends in this story, the biggest being linked to another story we ran last week: “AvtoVAZ to Build Logan-Based Cars.”
As you've read then, you'll find the Russian carmaker so cherished by Putin will be manufacturing a vehicle based on Renault's low-cost Logan platform. The result would be a car which will sell for around EUR5,000-EUR6,000. So why the need for another low-cost car?
We'll be looking out for details on this story, so stay tuned for updates.