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They’re rich, powerful, and have no qualms in highlighting themselves with their muscle rides.
Be it a car tantamount to a jetliner or a brand that shows pure patriotism, you cannot afford to miss what the three most powerful people in this world ride.
Let’s take a little detour into their humble beginnings as well. Here’s the lowdown:
Vladimir Putin: President of Russia
"Putin with his 1972 Zaporozhets" by Kremlin.ru. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Putin’s first car was a Zaporozhets, the cheapest car in the Russian market. As the story goes, Putin got his first car when he was in his third year at university. His mother won a Zaporozhets on a lottery ticket. The parents gave the car to Vladimir. Today Putin prefers Russian cars.
Owns a fleet of Russian cars: Lada Kalina priced between $4,972 and $5,000, the Niva priced at $4,200, and the 1956 ivory-coloured Volga GAZ-21 with price ranging from $4,500 up to $10,000 depending on its condition.
Putin drives a yellow Lada Kalina through the Amur Highway, August 2010 (Source: premier.gov.ru)
Vladimir Putin has covered thousands of kilometres behind the wheel of a Lada Kalina, equipped with Glonass and other modern equipment. On August 27, 2010, he drove his Lada Kalina down the new Chita-Khabarovsk highway.
When he was asked if the Lada Kalina was a good vehicle for the Far Eastern roads, Putin said that it was a great match.
“I was surprised – it’s a really good car. I didn’t expect it to be this good. It’s quiet, fairly powerful for its size and weight, and very comfortable. It has everything: air conditioning, airbags, Glonass and low petrol consumption. In general, it is very convenient. It’s a good car,” Vladimir Putin said.
By sergio_robot [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Putin bought a Niva in the spring of 2009. The camouflage-coloured three-door Niva is impressive: it has forged rims, off-road tires, and the Glonass navigation system. The Niva is permanently kept at the residence in Sochi.
“We went for a drive in the mountains together with our curators from the International Olympic Committee, Gilbert Felli and Jean-Claude Killy. They liked it, and so did I,” Putin says.
Once he drove the Niva to a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Putin, Niva is a simple and reliable off-road vehicle.
Vladimir Putin arrived at the opening of the new Adler-Krasnaya Polyana tunnel in his 1956 Volga (GAZ-21) (Source: Putin.Kremlin.ru)
Putin has always shown by personal example that people should buy Russian cars. For instance, in 2005 he drove President George W. Bush around in his 1956 ivory-coloured Volga (GAZ-21).
In May 2009, Putin drove that same car to the ceremony of laying the first stone at the temple complex in the Odintsovo district, Moscow Region.
Putin’s non-Russian-made car collection consists of a stretched armoured Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard Pullman priced at $1.62 million along with his Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen that comes with a $434,000 price tag.
Mercedes-Benz launched the prestigious luxury limousine – the S 600 Pullman Guard – in 2008. The model is in a long and unique tradition of large, armoured, prestige limousines from the world’s oldest automaker.
It was 80 years ago that Mercedes-Benz became the very first car brand to develop and manufacture Pullman limousines with special protection characteristics. This limo meets the security requirements of the highest protection level, namely VR6/VR7. In addition, the rear of the vehicle with its vis-à-vis seats can be separated from the first row using an optoelectronic partition – for a dignified ambience and discreet discussions.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class or G-Wagen, short for Geländewagen (or cross-country vehicle), was developed as a military vehicle from a suggestion by the Shah of Iran (at the time a significant Mercedes shareholder), and offered as a civilian version in 1979.
Barack Obama: President of the United States of America
Prior to becoming the President, Obama owned a 2005 Chrysler 300C V8 engine that received loads of criticism due to the lack of fuel efficiency.
According to the Detroit Free Press, then senator Obama from Illinois was lambasted for driving the a V8 300C after chastising Detroit in a speech for failing to anticipate rising oil prices that have changed consumers’ buying habits.
Senator Barack Obama tossed aside the keys to his Chrysler 300C in favour of a new (2007) Ford Escape Hybrid (Source: Ford.com)
Obama switched to the more environmentally friendly 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid that was later auctioned off.
Photo courtesy the US Secret Service, January 2009
Obama’s state car, nicknamed “The Beast”, is an 8 ton monster with an estimated price of $1.5 million.
With doors weighing as those on a Boeing 757 jetliner, it is equipped with night vision, blood bank, a gas tank that won’t explode upon direct hits and is said to be bulletproof and bomb resistant.
The armoured presidential limousine made its debut on January 20, 2009, as part of the 56th Presidential Inauguration, following the tradition of integrating new US Secret Service vehicles into the fleet for Inaugural parades.
“Although many of the vehicles’ security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world,” said Nicholas Trotta, Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations.
Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China
Often referred to as the paramount leader of China, Xi Jinping in a way endorses Hongqi, China’s only domestically manufactured luxury car used as the official government state car (and also open for sale to the people of the Republic).
The very big, very powerful and very important car is obviously for very important people, and the very first production model reportedly sold for a jaw-dropping 5m yuan (about $800,000).
Filled with all the goodies a communist leader would love, the L5 hit the headlines during Jinping’s state visit to New Zealand, where the car apparently showed up before the Presidential crew landed.
Based on info provided by Carmudi, an online car buying and selling platform
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