Russian President Putin Checks Out VW’s XL1 Together with German Chancellor Merkel

Whether he’s criticizing the Russian auto industry for not being able to provide him with a decent limousine or test driving Russia’s latest models before they go on sale, Russian President Vladimir Putin is always in the news when it comes to cars.

This time though, Putin scrutinized one of Germany’s most innovative cars, the VW XL1 1-liter car. Along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin visited the Hannover Messe Industrie 2013, as Russia is the partner country of the world’s biggest industrial fair this year.

After being briefed by VW CEO Martin Winterkorn about VW’s vocational training program and innovative products manufactured in Russia, Putin took a closer look at the XL1. Although his facial expression looks as impenetrable as always, we suspect the Russian President liked what he saw. Although for a man whose country is the world’s current leading oil producer, the XL1’s average fuel economy of 0.9 l/100 km (261 mpg US/313mpg UK) is not very good news. But hey, at least it has Lambo-styled doors…

So there you have it, two of the world’s most powerful leaders posing in the world’s most economical production car. Putin and Merkel’s visit to the VW stand in Hannover shows how important the Russian market is to Germany and how important German technology is to Russia.

Putin also took a look at the more mundane VW Polo Sedan, a vehicle especially developed for the Russian market, VW Group’s number one growth market in Europe.

By Dan Mihalascu

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