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25 Limo For Mr. President

Limo For Mr. President

Posted on October 30, 2012 by team


The car you see is a limousine for the Russian president – ZiL-4112R. This car has been allegedly made for six years. It exists only in one copy and still needs to be improved. During the test drive its wipers broke and the original doors didn’t close correctly. It was even hard to believe that the work took six years! But luckily it starts and can even drive around the yard of the plant.

We are about to visit the shop where the car is being made.

The limo stands in the company of governmental ZILs.

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25 Responses to “Limo For Mr. President”

  1. America says:

    No wonder Russian government has been using up armored Mercedes for the last decade or more. Smart move. Trying to revive ZIL production is a joke…let it go. Forget nostalgia and keep ordering Mercedes factory up armored limos and you will be much safer.

    Or maybe talk to the Chinese about ordering a few FAW CA7600L Red Flag limos if you’re really feeling nostalgic and want to rock that old school communist style. x1000 better then anything ZIL could produce today. Russian auto industry is just not up to the task of building a presidential limo from the ground up. As for this ZIL they need to just scrap it. Putin will never risk his life just to be seen in that thing.

    • America says:

      Maybe i was to harsh about scrapping it. Sell it off to a nostalgic feeling oligarch who wants a retro project limo. the native Russian auto industry just isn’t up to the task of building cars of this class without foreign manufacturers being involved in the project, which pretty much defeats the purpose in the first place. Sorry, not trying to crap on Russia. Even Russians in the auto industry agree. It will be far too expensive and a financial folly to attempt this now.

    • Tiger says:

      Still more style than a Cadillac or Chrysler…ehm…sorry, I mean Fiat :)

      Yet I agree with You about the backward design. They need to overhaul this and design everything new from scratch, starting with exterior and interior design, suspension, powertrain system etc. – maybe they would buy either Renualt or BMW engines and use the ZF six-speed automatic that is used in so many performance cars nowadays or the dual clutch gearbox from VW.

      And just FYI: it is absolutely normal for a small car manufacturer to procure the engine and gearbox, since making it is too expensive. Even Aston Martin buys Ford V6s, that are combined and tweaked to form a new V12 engine. Needless to say that also GM and Ford rely of Getrag and ZF gearboxes.

      • America says:

        Can’t argue with you on thew style point. It’s all subjective and i’m not so fond of those brands styling myself. ;)

        And i agree with you about outsourcing as a normal course of commercial business. However this is not ordinary business.

        Putin’s (and others in gov) entire point of reviving Russian luxury auto production for government officials is a government prestige effort. I believe he’s said it should be built within the “common economic space” or whatever the economic union is. Point is this isn’t a private effort to jump start luxury auto production in Russia. A market segment they abandoned 20 years ago. It is about Russian national prestige and if the effort goes ahead it will have the full backing of the Russian federal government. The effort is quite similar to the current generation of Chinese Ref Flag limos. Prior modern redflags used BMW v-12’s etc. The current generation are all up Chinese made limo from the tires, wheels, v-12 engine and drivetrain, body, armoring etc. 100% Chinese. A bold statement that yes, we can do these things too and on the same level as world class leaders like Rolls Royce, Maybach, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus etc. that do it in house too.

        That is what the revival of ZiL is about. Russian national prestige. A bold statement by the Russian government that yes, we can do these things too. While excellent transmissions an Allison hardly scream Russian national prestige.

        That said this DEPO Zil is a prototype. Developed prior to drawing Putins support. It isn’t even an armored limo, just a limo. If Putin signs off on it then they’ll get all those “little” details figured out. It’ll probably take a billion dollars or more to get ZiL where they need to be as a world class luxury auto manufacturer on par with those they want to best. That’s a lot of gov money to spend on a prestige effort. Not sure it’s all that well spent. Give it time and the Russian auto industry will get there on their own with government funding.

        Obama is doing the same crap trying to “fast forward” American electric car production ahead of the natural pace at which the market is moving toward it anyway. IMO it is not money well spent (in the US). Russians will have to decide if it is their money being well spent.

        • Tiger says:

          Even google or IBM had the backing of the state (in fact the whole valley was a pentagon project), and so is the successful Chinese economy (cheap state credits for the industry). Today you cannot launch major project without money and state backing. Not in Russia and not in the US.

          If that is a wise decision to revive the ZiL production, perhaps yes. The Luxury segment is growing and the clients always want something new. Of course in order to be successful a complete overhaul and re-branding is key (ZiL is an abbreviation for Factory named after Lenin – so who wants to drive a Lenin ?). I think there is nothing wrong with that. It creates high-return jobs with good wages, it helps to promote the prestige of the Russian industry and hey, its automotive. Maybe Putin is a petrolhead too (or gearheads as you Muricans say).

          When it comes to the luxury segment, we are not talking BMWs or Audis, that is still mass segment and a totally different thing. Luxury segment is Bentley, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Pagani and Ferrari (at least the top cars), starting with prices of 250kUSD and volumes of less than 1500 cars per year. These are handcrafted cars, so you actually pay for the craftsmanship and the image that your car was individually hand made according to your personal wishes. So even if you procure the suspension from Benteler, the engines from AMG or BMW, the gearbox from ZF and so on (which most mass segment car makers do too), you still tweak those things, give them more punch or more comfort. So the result is than in fact a different product.
          ZiL or whatever it would be named in the future could cover the market for large armored luxury saloons. So the ideal car for CEOs and politicians ideally from developing countries and emerging markets, dictators, Nigerian mafia bosses or Russian oligarchs. Maybe they could start with 250 cars per year and then advance. And for such a small firm it surely would not cost a billion to make something out of that. Half a billion or so should be enough for a start. And that is still cheaper than alimenting 500 people on social subsidies through their whole life or combating crime and so on, since always do have the costs.

          As of the Obama plan, the problem is that maybe in the next 20 or 40 years this program might bear fruit. I would not say it is a bad investment. Of course, if you expect that it will deliver results in the next 5 years or so, than this is the wrong type of program. And it will require also the will of the US OEMs to invest in electric or hybrid cars as well in order to make them affordable. The Chinese are also heavily investing in this segment and have launched electric buses for public transport which are quite cheap. So the race is already on, in order to dominate the car market of the second half of this century.

  2. America says:

    Transmission is an American made 5-speed Allison, wonder what else they outsourced to foreign manufacturers…

    • America says:

      bah, meant to say “Give it time and the Russian auto industry will get there on their own withOUT government funding.”

      Russia is like the 2 largest auto producer in Europe. They just haven’t entered the luxury market yet. Is it worth it to invest so much money in that market segment for domestic and gov consumption? It’ll be a long time before they are exporting anything acceptable in the world luxury auto market.

      • Tiger says:

        Let me give you an example how OEMs work. If you take a BMW, does not matter which type. Than actually the only thing BMW does is the engine, the stamped parts for the exterior and chassis and of course the overall design and final assembly of the parts. The rest is delivered by 1st tier suppliers. The seats may be from Lear, the navigation is from Bosch or Continental. The HUD is from Denso, the gearbox is ZF, the suspension may come from Benteler. The center console is made by JCI or SAS, the wooden trim is made by Dräxlmaier, if it is a hard-top cabrio then the roof comes from Webasto, the tires from Continental again, the board and assistancec electronics again from Bosch or TRW, the airbags from Autoliv… so you see, the OEM does the design, the final assembly and then maybe some key parts from the powertrain system (engine and/or gearbox). Almost everything else is procured. Sometimes even the guys who built in these parts in the car are not even BMW employees but come from the supplier (so called shop-in-shop manufacturing). Today only very few OEMs actually do have a certain in-house production depth, like the Volkswagen Group or Mercedes. And that is the mass segment. In the luxury car segment with its low volume production it absolutely makes no sense to develop your own gearbox or engine. The cars would cost a million or more. So what they do is procure as much as they can and then tweak, tune and individualize it. So a todays Rolls-Royce is an individualized and handmade BMW.

        • America says:

          Thanks, but i don’t need you to explain how OEMs work. I understand it all perfectly well. This is not a case of your typical private sector corporation sourcing their components from OEMs during the course of normal business. (or it won’t be if the government goes ahead with their effort to get involved. The car they are showing today is an unarmored limo they have developed prior to gov interest thus the normal reliance on OEMs for parts).

          But what you fail to seem to understand is the nature of this proposed gov venture, and why it (if it goes forward) is being pursued with the full financial and political backing of the Russian federal Government. It is 100% about Russian national (political) prestige on a world stage, and to the Russian people as well. That should be obvious to you. Putin has stated as much himself. The effort is very much similar to the pride involved in the current generation of Chinese Red Flag limos being indigenous produced, however modern OEMs do it be damned. They already proved they can do it the “regular way” by using OEMs and world sources. Now they do it by building their own V-12s (that look suspiciously like 1980s BMW V-12s, and the chassis may not be as original as they want us to believe either, but whatever, it’s China).

          my point is doing it the normal way was quite simply not good enough for the highest heads of state of China. They decided they need to do it all themselves as a matter of pride. However uneconomical. It is a matter of political, cultural, and national pride. Also quite like Putin has suggested all gov fleet vehicles in China are being giving to domestic producers now (2012). The image of all these gov employees driving foreign makes just leaves the Chinese people asking WTF are these politicos doing with our money, riding around in luxury foreign brands? Not good for keeping the poor masses content.

          From various sources that is the impression i get for the drive behind reviving domestic luxury limo production for Russian government officials (and purchasing fleet vehicles from Russian auto makers too). This isn’t a gov effort to jump start luxury limo production for the world market so they are competitive or anything like that. It’s about Russian government officials not having to rely on foreign manufacturers to get around, however good and internationally produced their autos may be. It is a prestige thing. And all too often, when it comes to egos and prestige the cost to do it takes a back seat to other considerations. I’ve lost were i read it but Putin has even commented the auto should be produced with the Common Economic Space of Russias trading partners. If it will not be they may as well just keep ordering Mercedes armored pullmans.

          Point being if this project goes forward there is no way in hell the limo of the President of Russia will rely on an Allison, ZF ,Gertrag, Denso or other gearbox, however excellent and commercially economical the choice may be. Otherwise what’s the point of the gov investing hundreds of millions, perhaps upwards of a billion dollars in this effort as has been suggested is possible? If that’s the case just keep buying Mercedes and put that money towards something useful. Like supporting all those poor Russian orphans you think Vladimir Doronin could have better spent his money on instead of building his girlfriend yet another mansion. Or put it toward finally starting that gov backed pension plan for the Russia people that the politicos keep paying lip service to, but never actually implement. Just sayin’. This is a case of “go big or go home” as they say. Otherwise it’s just wasted money.

          • Tiger says:

            The point is that you have the product. No consumer is going to ask: where is the gearbox from? Are the microchips made in Taiwan or China? Are the cables from Japan or Germany? Is the engine block casted in Hungary or the Czech Republic…etc. ; what a potential wants to know is if that car a whole system is sound and of course if that product appeals to him emotionally. There is absolutely nothing wrong with procuring the gearbox or the engine or other parts from suppliers. Automotive today is an international business and I would rather have a ZF high performance gearbox in the car of the president than a gearbox that has been made in a backyard shop.
            If you buy an Chevrolet Camaro you do not ask if the suspension is actually a Holden design, the plastic interior and leather trim comes from Mexico, the HUD is from Continental (Germany) etc. … for you the Camaro will be an American car. The whole design was made in USA, the assembly, the testing and even the whole marketing was made for the American market. An Aston Martin has the powertrain system from Germany, the Satnav is French…so what is British about it? Well, it is an Aston! And look at it (for instance the DB9 or Vanquish), it is still a typical British Grand-Tourer.

            • America says:

              The “potential”, the consumer who will be footing the bill is those who rule the Russian Government, and the head of that government has already said he does cares where it is made. that is kind of the whole point, whether you get it or not. It’s about reestablishing Russian national prestige and pride. But whatever, you obviously don’t get it. Whatever, Putin does.

              • Tiger says:

                No, you Muricans do not get it how and why to resurrect industry and manufacturing.

                • Adolph says:

                  Wooooosh….right over your head. You are living in a dream land were Russian private and government state run or subsidized businesses have adopted profitable western business practices. In large part they have not. At all. Right now in the blue collar heart of Russia, the Ural mountains, the very working class people who put Putin in power routinely go on hunger strikes just to get paid back wages they are owed. The businesses they work for are saddled with debt, still operating with a Soviet mentality, and when the workers finally hunger strike just to collect back wages Putin’s gov steps in and subsidizes the business with some gov cash to pay the workers and keep the peace, and buy political support. The Russia manufacturing sector is an economic post Soviet disaster. For every Suhkio that adopts western business practices, international partnerships and sourcing, or Autovaz the is bought into the modern age by a Renault/Nissan there are thousands of others still floundering in debt and being run like the Communist party is still in power and it’s a state run business. Perhaps Putin should hire you to reform the sector as you are so well experienced in such matters. Russia certainly needs someone who knows wtf they are doing.

                  • America says:

                    And if you are wonder why i posted as “Adolph” revisit the baby hedgehog comments…lol couldn’t resist. ;)

                    • Tiger says:

                      Maybe you have listed too often to “Vaughner”.

                      As of reviving the manufacturing sector, there is no alternative to state subsidies at this stage in order to supplement of substitute private investment. A painful lesson you are currently learning in the US.

  3. Tiger says:

    the old Aston Martin workshop (factory would have been a glorification of the old facilities) looked similar and was even smaller. This could be an interesting project to produce luxury cars rivaling Rolls-Royce, Bentley and the likes, since it is hand made. But before that works you need a new design, new engines etc. ; this 80s commie style will not win any customers. And for god´s sake take that picture of Lenin from the wall. He has only brought peril to Russia!

  4. Justus says:

    Very thin armor if you compare to Obamas limo.

  5. Czarina Mona says:

    US Presidential limo is based on an Isuzu/Chevy Kodiak truck. Everything else is custom built. The trim is from a Cadillac STS or Escalade. 4 wheel drive.

  6. Tovarich Volk says:

    How much would it cost to have one of these delivered with leopard skin interior trim, electric purple paint, and 63cm gold spinner wheels?

    • Tiger says:

      That is the ZiL Oligarch 3000 V12S! You can also have a rotating Faberge Egg hanging from the roof as a mirror ball and a third row of seats for the hookers, lovers, servants or even for the only child.

  7. Maxim Ч. says:

    @Justus…the President of the Russian Federation doesn’t require as much armour :-)

  8. ProudGerman says:

    Only the Communist leaders lived like gods, meanwhile comrades starved.

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