General Director of Plant that produce service car of Putin: “I love Russia very much, but my historical homeland is Azerbaijan” - INTERVIEW

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26 August 2019

Interview of Adil Shirinov, our compatriot, number one person of the Russian automobile industry, General Director of the “Aurus” – producer of the Vladimir Putin’s service car to APA.

Note: Adil Shamil oghlu Shirinov is general director of the “Aurus” automobile plant which is considered as first in luxury car segment of Russia. Alongside with management of “Aurus” company Adil Shirinov who is considered as the most prominent figure in the Russian automobile industry is also leading Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant (UAZ) and “Ford Sollers” LLC (plant where Ford cars are assembled in Russia). Achievements he gained in the area of the Russian automobile industry turned our compatriot in one of the renowned figures of the world automobile industry.

- Mr Adil, you are one of the most renown faces of the Russian automobile industry today. Experts of this field consider you as the most qualified specialist in the automobile industry of the country. But there is little information about you. Azerbaijani public have heard about you only after your appointment as general director of Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant and then “Aurus”…

- I was born in 1964 in Sumqayit city. I studied at the secondary school number 27 in Baku near Gagarin Bridge (current Javanshir Bridge). I came to Russia in 1982 and got my high education in translation field in Nijni Novgorod. Then, I continued my education in Saint Petersburg. I have been working in the automobile industry field for more than 30 years.

- We can say that the future of the luxury car segment of Russia is entrusted to you. World automobile industry is continually developing. If we say that the competition is strong and tough in this area, we will not be wrong.  What are the objectives of the “Aurus” in this tough and competitive trade environment?

- As you know, “Aurus” is a brand which doesn’t belong to massive segment. “Aurus” which belongs to luxury car segment doesn’t need open large amount of dealer network. Therefore, we should focus on potential clients and customers and react properly. I should note that, currently there is great interest in our product in CIS countries. This is not just because the car of the first person, the president of Russia is “Aurus”. Generally, this automobile is perfectly constructed from an engineering point of view. Not only in CIS region, but also several regions of the world are interested in “Aurus”. Our partners from UAE own 36 percent of shares of “Aurus”. Arabs allocate big finance to this project. In the near future, our board of directors will discuss how we will form cooperation in the Middle Eastern and North African markets. We will not restrict ourselves just with Middle Eastern and North African markets; we aim Chinese and European markets as well. Several countries, including Turkey, is interested in our project. I hope, Azerbaijan will also show interest in this project. In my opinion, that day is not far away. I think that “Aurus” cars with beautiful colours will greatly fit in our sunny homeland, sunny Baku.

- Are there orders from Azerbaijan?

- I haven’t heard about orders yet. This is an issue related to the characters of Azerbaijanis. Our people have very strict characters. Therefore, they will not say “we want it as well”. I think that after a while we will also see “Aurus” cars in the Baku streets.

- Mr. Shirinov, price of base version of “Aurus Senat” car is 18 million rubles, in other words USD 273 thousand. How will “Aurus” of this price compete with his rival “Mercedes S-class” in the market, which is much cheaper than “Aurus” and one of the bests of the field? Why should not people choose “Mercedes S-class”, but “Aurus”?

- Primarily, note that “Aurus Senat” and “Mercedes S-class” don’t belong to the same segment. “Aurus Senat” belongs to Luxury segment, while “Mercedes S-class” belong to the Premium segment. Rivals of “Senat” are “Rolls-Royce” and “Bentley”. Secondly, if with put “Mercedes S-class” and “Senat” side by side, we will see the first will be very little in comparison with the second one. Additionally, “Aurus Senat” has more advantages from technical point of view. The version of “Senat” with V12 engine and 1000 horsepower does not have a rival in the market. It is a very great technical indicator. When it comes to the interior of the car, note that customers’ desires will individually be met at the highest level.

- Mr. Shirinov, do you maintain your relations with Azerbaijan? You noted that you have been living in Russia for 37 years. Have you forgotten Azerbaijani language?

- Certainly, I have relations with Azerbaijan. I can not imagine that I don’t have relations with Azerbaijan- my Motherland. How it can be possible to lose contact with your native land… I am a Russian citizen. I love and respect Russia too much. However, my historical motherland is Azerbaijan. I consider I will return to Azerbaijan to live sooner or later. I hope to go back (or return) to Azerbaijan to live and create, not to complete the rest of my life. I have relatives and many friends in Azerbaijan. When it comes to the language of Azerbaijan, I have not forgotten my native language. Truly, there has been a period that I have not visited Azerbaijan even for 9 years, but I have always had relations. I have not forgotten Azerbaijani language, sometimes, I experience some difficulties, but when I visit Azerbaijan and spend a few days with my friends and relatives, I speak fluently. (The interview has been taken in the Russian language with own request of Adil Shirinov, Mr. Shirinov speaks in Azerbaijani language fluently – red) I celebrated my 50th anniversary in Baku 5 years ago. I had many guests from Russia. I wanted to meet them with Azerbaijani people, culture, and traditions. Let they know Azerbaijani people don’t just sell tomato or carnation in the market, although it is a part of great labour itself and requires capability. Azerbaijani people are representatives of the generation, brought up genius such as Muslim Magomayev, Gara Garayev, Mstislav Rostropovich. I am proud of this. My relations with Azerbaijan are at a high level. I visit my native land frequently. I am going to visit Azerbaijan in September. Conference of UAZ’s dealers will be held and I will attend there.

How do you evaluate the economic development of Azerbaijan? Is there potential for the automobile industry in Azerbaijan?

-I can talk about the economic growth rate of Azerbaijan for over 20 years. Note that during that period Azerbaijan has achieved great progress, development. This progress was not merely in regard of oil and gas. I believe that we have to think about earning additional income by choosing vertical integration path in the industry. Because Azerbaijan has good quality oil and gas. Moreover, I think Azerbaijan should develop the tourism industry. In my opinion, this kind of industry has not fully developed in our country. Yes, we can see beautiful nature, mountains, hotels, currently. But, alongside all of these, tourism infrastructure has not completely developed yet. Note that there is also a fast rate in this field, as well. People who visit Baku and other regions of Azerbaijan want to travel again. Therefore, the tourism industry should be developed more. Because this is a right move in the background of our hospitability.

When it comes to mechanical engineering and car production industry there is also great potential in Azerbaijan in order to develop this field. I know that several automobiles are assembled in Azerbaijan. But you should pay attention to this. I think this field, car assembly does not bring so much additional income. Yes, it is useful in terms of opening jobs. But car assembly does not contribute in vertical integration of industry.  You know that there is a great potential in the development of the automobile industry, in countries where petrochemical industry develops. Because petrochemicals are considered the second direction of the automobile industry after iron. Projects can be realized regarding petrochemicals. They should not hurry to invite any brand to Azerbaijan for car assembly. Because owners of these projects expand sales markets by realizing their projects. However, we have to think about how to develop our own economy and industry. I do not want my compatriots to think that I teach them something. I only express my own views in some issues. For example, let’s look at our neighbour country Turkey. This country produces a great number of automobiles at present. They not only assemble automobiles but also do engineering. We can take Turkey as an example. They do fantastic works in this field. It is clear proof that the biggest automobile industry companies of the world produce automobiles in Turkey, not assemble, but produce.

-Do you plan to implement any project in Azerbaijan in the future?

- It is early to talk about this. Note that I am a businessman and I represent different automobile companies. Unfortunately, life is not so long. I do not consider that I will ever have such a plan. If I return back to Azerbaijan one day, then it is possible to do something for my country, for my soul, not as a representative of Russian business.

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