Putin: My Lada has a German engine
Published 27/01/2010 | 05:00
VLADIMIR PUTIN's surprise purchase of a Lada Niva last year gave a much-needed publicity boost to the struggling maker of the maligned Russian brand.
But six months later, Mr Putin has made an embarrassing confession: the off-road vehicle he bought has a customised German-made engine produced by Opel and is permanently parked more than 800 miles south-west of Moscow -- for occasional use only.
The Russian prime minister's admission to a group of university students is likely to rankle with workers at Avtovaz, the crisis-hit company that makes Ladas.
It also deals a rare blow to his patriotic credentials. The Niva sold in Russia has a Russian-made engine. Yet when singing his new Niva's praises last May, Mr Putin failed to mention its special engine.
During a chat about the car with a group of students, Mr Putin's conscience appears to have got the better of him.
"I won't hide it, the car I bought has an Opel engine," he conceded. "It turns out that it is more powerful."
When in Moscow, Mr Putin is ferried around in an armour-plated Mercedes limousine accompanied by a large security convoy. (© Daily Telegraph, London)