MOSCOW, July 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s higher echelons of power have switched to domestically-assembled cars to comply with the government resolution on the ban of state and municipal purchases of foreign-made vehicles, spokesman for the presidential administrative department head Viktor Khrekov said on Tuesday.
“The auto pool of the Russian presidential administrative department comprises only three types of cars - Volga, BMW and Ford. BMW 5 and 7 series, Ford Mondeo and Ford Focus cars are assembled exclusively on the territory of Russia [the westernmost Kaliningrad Region and Vsevolozsk in the northwestern Leningrad Region],” Khrekov said in an interview with ITAR-TASS news agency.
The presidential administrative department works under a program of raising the efficiency of transport services and unifying the car model range, the spokesman said.
“All purchases are made through tenders and most of them are held at electronic trades, which helps save 10-15% of the initial price,” the spokesman said.
Maintenance of foreign cars assembled in Russia and model range unification are another economizing item, which helps reduce car service costs, the spokesman said.
The auto pool of the presidential administrative department comprises 700 vehicles, including buses and trucks, the spokesman said.
At the same time, the presidential administrative department buys buses and trucks abroad but this does not contradict the government’s resolution because these vehicles have no Russian analogs, he said.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a government resolution on July 14, which “bans state and municipal purchases of various types of foreign-made vehicles and equipment.” The resolution applies to transport vehicles produced on the territory of other countries rather than to foreign brands.
Automobile services for Russia’s top state officials - the president and the prime minister - are provided by the special designation garage of the Russian Federal Guard Service.
The garage has Mercedes high-end sedans, which Russian leaders have used since the 1990s. The first Mercedes-Benz-S500 car was specially made for Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin.
Two blue Mercedes cars were made in 1994 and another two dark-blue sedans in 1997.
The Russian president and prime minister cannot switch to domestic limousines so far because cars of this class and level are not produced in Russia.
In the 1990s, the Moscow-based ZIL auto works stopped the production of limousines for top state officials. As the Federal Guard Service explained, the domestic limousines had grown outdated and their cost was far above the cost of European analogs.
On the Russian president’s order, ZIL limousines were replaced by Mercedes sedans.
In an interview with ITAR-TASS in June, presidential administrative department head Alexander Kolpakov did not rule out that the head of the Russian state could switch to domestic automobiles in the future.
These vehicles can be developed under the Cortege project supervised by the Russian Industry Ministry.
“In this case, we act as a customer. If worthy and economically efficient cars are offered, they will naturally find their place in the auto pool of the presidential administrative department,” Kolpakov said.