Pimp My Lada

lada051809.jpgWith car sales down by almost 60% this year in Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is making a big push to encourage citizens to buy locally produced automobiles, such as various models of the Lada brand.  To help push the message, Putin personally drove up to his meeting last Friday with inimitable Silvio Berlusconi to sign the South Stream deal in an impressively decked out Lada Niva.

The boys over at the car-obsessive blog Jalopnik are in love with Putin’s ride, even if the staging forgot to hide the American made tires:

The car is as much a publicity stunt as anything else, with Russia’s defacto leader posing in the car in order to encourage buyers in Russia’sdown automobile market. That doesn’t cloud the sheer awesomeness ofthis Niva though. It’s outfitted with an array of available optionsincluding a grille guard, winch, roof rack, a snorkel and… what’sthis? Gasp! American-made BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires? The greedyhand of the capitalist pigs reaches very far.

I love Ladas,and it’s really not all that strange to see politicians touting localindustry (a la “buy American”) during these tough times.  I do wonderhowever how much of the Lada marketing overlaps with the PrimeMinister’s interest in Opel – a development that the media is picking up on big time today.