Russian President Vladimir Putin gets behind the wheels of a brand new domestically-produced Lada for a test drive in the southern resort of Sochi. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
On the road with Vladimir Putin. The Russian President gets behind the newly made Lada Vesta Thursday to offer a boost to the domestic car industry. While the Russian auto industry has enjoyed sales growth in excess of 10 percent for the past decade -- it has been hit hard by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. When Putin is asked 'What's the verdict" he says verdicts are made in court. He says now is the time to buy. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "It is not about crisis, it is about the currency exchange differences, of the national currency, of other currencies against the ruble. This is an absolute competitive advantage, that our producers should undoubtedly use, which implies not only reclaiming the domestic market, but also moving on to the international (market)." And the statistics back Putin. Last month the Association of European Businesses said Russian car sales could total 1.7 million units this year, higher than previously forecast.