A classic example of a superpower of the past is when a car for the head of state is built from scratch (in piece quantities), but at the same time it symbolizes the strength and power of domestic industry. The “Cadillac” of Barack Obama itself is not a “Cadillac”, he does not even have a model designation as such. In fact, the fact of creating this unique car, which only on the outside resembles the current CTS or Eskeleid models, does not show power, but, on the contrary, the weakness of the American automobile industry. No matter what the top officials from the Cadillac management say about the specific requests of the special services, in the vast majority of countries they still manage to get by with limos created not from scratch, but based on production models.
The previous presidential Cadillacs were built on the basis of ordinary sedans, but the trouble is: in the late 2000s, after the crisis, there were simply no big models left in the company's lineup suitable for creating such a transport.
Taking a CTS - funny, adored by the rappers Eskelaid - is stupid. Therefore, the Barack-Obama limousine was built on the chassis of the GMC-Topkik truck (this is something like ZIL-130), covering its coarse filling with a shell with motives of the Cadillac design.
Wolfgang Schubert, Managing Director, Cadillac Europe:
“The president of a great country, of course, should drive a national brand car. Let it be a special model, but under a public brand. For example, you could make the presidential Volga by reviving the production of such machines.
Our car is 100% different from the serial. It is too heavy, and very high demands are made by the customer (US Secret Service). Previously, third-party firms built armored vehicles on a serial chassis, now we have abandoned this practice. The entire machine is entirely designed and manufactured by a special GM unit.
Now, every owner of the White House is building a new limousine. Old cars go to work at our embassies, take places in various structures, for example, in the Reagan Presidential Library or the Clinton Center.
Cadillacs have been serving in the presidential garage since 1919 (and have been participating in parades since then). The company has many notable customers - not so long ago, by the way, we sold cars to the Belgian royal family.”
At the time of Chairman Mao, the country's top officials traveled in the Hongqi limousines created in the late 1950s, during the era of the “big leap”. Few people know that the development of a model for the leaders of the Communist Party went on at once at several enterprises, as it was customary to say then, “on a personal initiative from below. As a result, the choice fell on the "Hongqi", created by FAW - "First Automobile Plant", the most modern enterprise at that time, built with Soviet help.
In the 1990s, the old Chinese limousines were replaced with Audi, which is quite logical: it was this German company that was the first to organize joint production of cars in China, with the participation of the same FAW. And the most prestigious versions of the Chinese "Audi" even inherited the legendary brand "Hongqi", maintaining the nominal status quo.
But the growth of China's economic and political power once again made us think of an original model for leadership. The case again took up the FAW. The first attempt was not entirely successful - a prototype in which the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado units were used almost completely copied the monumental appearance of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. This project has not received development. Apparently, at the very top they managed to figure out that spitting on copyrights from the level of the government limousine would be so ugly. Therefore, on October 1, 2009, a completely different “Hongqi” debuted at the military parade in Beijing, this time safely repeating the stylistic motifs of its predecessor from the 1950s. This machine has a 12-cylinder engine, allegedly a completely original design. FAW is still very much hoping for a government order to recoup development costs. But with all the economic power of the state, the Chinese government still doubts whether it is worth spending public money on a car worth $ 1.2 million.
Japanese Prime Minister uses two cars. The hybrid Lexus-LS 600h L demonstrates the advanced thinking of the government and, of course, the high technology of its country. By the way, thanks to a neutral benzoelectric image, this model found its way into the main garages of other countries, especially those where they do not like pathos and care about the environment (among them, for example, Hong Kong and Iceland).
The classic low-key style in the garage of the Japanese Prime Minister personifies Toyota-Century. In an almost unchanged form, this model has been produced since 1967, however, it is not going to be either replaced or removed from small-scale production. During the most serious modernization carried out in the 1990s, Century acquired a unique 5-liter V12 engine to replace the previous G8, which was too commonplace. Options like the rear seats with massage and the electric control of the rear doors contrast with the clearly outdated appearance: to close or open, you only need to touch the handle.
The same model, but in an elongated version of the "Royal" (pictured) is used by members of the imperial family. Moreover, due to the fact that the cars were too expensive (500 thousand dollars - five times more expensive than the standard model), the imperial court decided to order four cars instead of the originally planned five.
Yo Hiruto, Head of Lexus Design:
“After all, you probably know that the world's first hybrid executive sedan made exactly“Lexus”? I assure you that in the near future we will be able to surprise with new developments. Driving a car will become easier and more interesting!
Our cars are designed primarily for those who like to drive themselves. That's why there is no limousine in the lineup, although in some markets such a Lexus will certainly be in demand. In addition, we do not produce armored vehicles and we have no plans to make them. I know that “Lexus” is reserved by third-party companies, but we can not vouch for such protection.
Is there any chance that the emperor or any member of the government would drive a non-Japanese car? I can’t imagine it! For the emperor’s family, special cars are made on the basis of Toyota-Century. This is a truly exclusive car that for many years has been used for official trips of the supreme authority. And I’m not particularly upset that Lexus wasn’t chosen for these purposes - we honor traditions in Japan”.
Surprisingly, until 2009, the President of the Republic of Korea, with strict state protectionism of the domestic auto industry, moved on imported cars. Strange, huh? Ordinary Korean for the purchase of foreign cars can be fired from work, and the president does not have this rule?
In fact, at first the representative “Ekus” was not suitable for responsible public service, although it was present in the Hyundai lineup since 1999. His first generation, designed by the Japanese from Mitsubishi, was a rather flimsy front-wheel drive design, not very suitable for booking. The new generation is another matter: it was built according to the classical canons of a representative car and, most importantly, was immediately designed for the possibility of booking. When the President’s security service was convinced that the Ecus was not inferior to the previously used BMW 7 Series in terms of build quality or protection level, it immediately approved the delivery of three cars to the republic’s main garage.
The election of the president of another rapidly developing country, Brazil, is very interesting. The cars here are used not by domestic, but also not generally accepted “Mercedes” with BMW. The choice of the state’s main car may seem strange: it’s the Ford Fusion Hybrid family-class sedan. American model, assembled in Mexico. But it fits perfectly into the political and economic situation in Brazil. Modest appearance does not annoy a large mass of poor voters. Hybrid gasoline-powered drive demonstrates environmental concern. And for the safety of senior officials is responsible for hidden booking.
Previously, the role of the country's main automobile was played by a model that was at least somewhat related to the local auto industry - the Chevrolet-Omega. This is actually a converted version of the Australian Holden Commodera. And when the import of this model stopped, I had to look for a replacement. But why did they take the Ford? Well, firstly, its plants have long been operating in Brazil, and secondly, it is unlikely that the politician can be blamed for choosing such a car.
It is curious that the neighboring countries of Brazil, mostly much poorer, are less scrupulous in choosing the main car of the state: in Bolivia it is the BMW 7 Series, in Argentina the Audi A8, and in Chile the Lexus LS 600h L.
In Australia, the local auto industry is also represented by branches of General Motors and Ford. Therefore, the head of government logically inclines precisely to his brands - as a rule, to Holden. Thanks to the original brand, it is considered more Australian than the global Ford. In addition, the latter in 2008 discontinued its large Australian models. So the only choice of the prime minister was Holden-Caprice. This is currently the largest rear-wheel drive model of the General Motors concern on a global scale. By the way, the Prime Minister of New Zealand is exactly the same - the long-standing economic and political proximity of the two countries is affecting.
In the country, four brands immediately produce cars of the highest class, and all of them donate their products on loan to a government garage. In theory, the head of state should pay equal attention to all cars so that he is not accused of patronizing a particular manufacturer. Rules are rules, but personal feelings make themselves felt. Therefore, the current chancellor often makes the choice of a particular model based on his own preferences. For example, Gerhard Schroeder most often appeared on the Audi A8, because even before he occupied the highest public post, he preferred cars of this particular brand.
But Angela Merkel left the eastern lands and did not have close ties with one or another manufacturer, so she tries to equally distribute attention between the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Volkswagen- Phaeton".
Karim Habib, BMW chief designer:
“Can I imagine that members of the German government drive, for example, British cars? Not! They have too good a choice of domestic models. As for the transport of the Russian president … Does he have a BMW? Not? Then this is really a problem!
Technically and stylistically, cars for VIP-clients are far from always different from ordinary ones. Our customers, as a rule, are asked to work only on the nuances of decoration. Sometimes you need to replace chrome parts with calmer ones so that there are no glare. Or, conversely, add brightness, paint the body in the color "chameleon". To do this, the BMW has a unit "Individual".
Some customers want a well-protected car - that's what really needs a lot of work. But booking is no longer for me, they have so many secrets!..”
Approximately the same practice in France. The head of the country has a choice of three cars, until recently it was the Citroen-C6, Renault Vel Satis and Peugeot 607. Personal preferences play the main role here: Jacques Chirac drove more often to Renault, while Nicolas Sarkozy (or maybe his wife?) Turned his eyes to Citroën.
The selection of the inauguration crew is much more original - so, when Sarkozy was inducted, Peugeot pulled out the 2000 open concept car “607 Paladin” made in a single copy from the storerooms. They say that the future president himself insisted on this: they say how much old cabriolets based on the Citroen-SM built in the 1970s can be used for parades! We must look to the future.
The current president, François Hollande, followed the example of his predecessor and also excelled at choosing an inauguration machine - he defiled in a Citroen-DS5 hybrid diesel-electric.
Dani Will, Head of Citroen History Center:
“On the eve of the election, people from the Champs Elysees took an interest in a car for the inauguration ceremony. At that time, unlike competitors, we had something to offer, and in January we began to prepare an open DS5 for the ceremony. I know that both candidates claimed him. Francois Hollande, however, had visited the plant even earlier and chose DS5 for himself. On it (in the version with a hard roof) it now rides - the most ordinary one, without armor, but with a serial hybrid installation. This underlines the high level of the French car industry. And its democracy!
Since the middle of the last century, Citroens have been carrying presidents - Traksion Avan, DS (survived the assassination attempt on their passenger de Gaulle), armored CX, open front doors SM. Great responsibility!
And the car from the last inauguration you can see at the car dealership, it is in the exposition of hybrids and electric vehicles. By the way, she had to endure such rain during the festivities! Salon, even though the leather is wet through. Even the cunning French journalists did not notice that we replaced the car - exactly the same, but with a dry interior and other numbers.”
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher not only pursued a radical policy to pull Britain out of a deep crisis, she demonstrated a separation from previous traditions, transferring from the obsolete Rover to the more luxurious and advanced Jaguar XJ.
Since then, only cars of this model have been parked on Downing Street. There were similar “dummers” until the Jaguar company eliminated this brand. Moreover, these cars are not always officially black. Tony Blair preferred the silver Jaguar, and Gordon Brown liked the green - the traditional British racing green. All cars of prime ministers since 1975 received hidden armor; the current “XJ Sentinel” by David Cameron is no exception. They say the cost of such a "Jaguar" is approaching 300 thousand pounds. But outwardly it is almost indistinguishable from serial ones.
You can’t say the same about the royal Bentley. In 2002, in the year of the golden jubilee of the reign of Elizabeth II, she received as a present two unique limousines (photo - at the beginning of the article), which have only units in common with the serial Arnage. These cars are used exclusively for official ceremonies and do not even have license plates.
By the way, after the Rolls-Royce went to BMW, the English queen cooled down to the cars of this brand, although before that they formed the basis of her garage. But the fact that the Bentley belongs to the German Volkswagen is apparently not embarrassed.
Rolf Frech, Bentley Development Manager:
“I proudly call the Bentley the royal brand - Her Majesty Elizabeth II chose our cars. The whole world could see a chic car at the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry. Elizabeth II has been using the State Limousine since 2002, two of these twin cars have been manufactured.
I know that the Russian president is moving in a German car, and there are probably good reasons for that. But if Mr. Putin decides to change the brand, we are always ready!
The Bentley Mulliner division will fulfill every whim: whether it is a significant increase in power, non-standard options, electronics or interior trim to the most demanding taste.
For example, one lady wanted to paint a car the color of her beloved … nail polish. Another wanted the body to sparkle to the tone of her favorite brooch. So in the range appeared the shade of "blue crystal".
Remaining rather conservatives, we are experimenting: in three years the first Bentley off-road vehicle will appear (you could see its forerunner in the image of the conceptual EXP 9 F). Many of our clients want this: young athletes, mature businessmen, movie stars …
Phil Popham, Sales Director, Jaguar Land Rover:
“Members of the royal family and the entire yard use the Jaguars XJ and the Land Rovers. This is a very important clientele, and, of course, we do not allow the thought that the royal family will give preference to another company. Her Majesty, by the way, sometimes drives behind her own lands on the Defender, and it’s absolutely standard, from the conveyor.
In general, the refusal from alteration guarantees the preservation of high quality: we do not want to remove parts from the car after it is built, to change something, convert it, or build it in. We produce limited series, but on the conveyor, while offering a lot of options.
Of course, the Range Rover can also be a representative crew, not just the Jaguar. After all, this model was specially designed so that the client did not have to buy two cars - one for driving with a driver, and the other for the weekend.”
Italians also jealously hold on to their prestigious brands. Until recently, the president’s official transport was the Maserati-Quattroporte, perhaps one of the most extravagant cars of the heads of state. Also used was a business-class original design, but absolutely failed in commercial terms, “Lancia-Thesis”.
For the departures of the current president, Giorgio Napolitano serves a more conservative and official “Lancia-Tema”. True, the Italian automobile industry has nothing to be proud of - after all, it’s just the American Chrysler 300C with different emblems.
Sometimes the choice of a domestic producer as the basis of a state park can cause a scandal. Here is a great example. The entire Malaysian government, starting with the Prime Minister, has supported the local Proton brand since the 1990s.