MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. Europe is likely to become the first export market for Russia’s Aurus cars and first pre-orders have already been received, Franz Gerhard Hilget, CEO of the Russian car producer, told TASS.
"We have foreign pre-orders," Hilgert said but did not elaborate.
According to him, the car maker is now trying to complete certification in Europe so it is very likely that the first exports of Aurus cars will be to European countries.
"First step is to get the European type of approval because the European approval is accepted in many countries by 80%," he said.
In order to promote Aurus cars abroad the Russian carmaker plans to cooperate with distributors in those countries, Hilgert said. He added that for the moment he cannot name any specific companies.
"We have candidates," he said.
Hilgert also said that his company has an investor from Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).
"That is the territory where we will definitely be developing. We signed a memorandum (with Tawazun’s Defense, Security and Development Fund - TASS) and we plan to close the deal before the end of the year," he said.
In July, Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov said that Tawazun Company from the United Arab Emirates is going to invest into production of Aurus cars.
He said that Tawazun’s Defense, Security and Development Fund (DSDF) will join the joint venture for Aurus cars as a partner and will invest up to 110 mln euro into it. Investments will be made for development and production of luxury cars under the new Aurus brand and the line of modern protected vehicles. The parties intend to jointly develop series production, distribution and after-sales servicing of Aurus cars. Tawazun will have about 30% in the Aurus car project. 60% will remain with Russia’s NAMI and Sollers will hold about 5%.
Aurus is a Russian brand of cars for senior officials. The name combines the two words Aurus: "aurum" (a Latin word for "gold") and "Russia."
The car was designed as part of the Kortezh project, which has been implemented by NAMI (Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute) in Moscow, Russia, since 2013.
Initially the goal was to design a limousine for the Russian president. The government allocated 12.4 bln rubles ($182 mln) to finance the project. At the same time, the project envisages the creation of the line of cars on the base of a single platform (sedan, limousine, minivan and sport utility vehicle (SUV)).
Federal State Unitary Enterprise NAMI and automotive producer Sollers set up a special joint venture to promote the Aurus brand. NAMI holds a 75% stake while Sollers holds a 25% share.
Franz Gerhard Hilget, who is a member of the board of directors of Sollers and a native of Daimler, was appointed the general director of the new joint venture.
The Sollers group includes the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant, the Zavolzhsky Motor Plant and the Sollers-Far East LLC.