Gift for Kim Jong-un: Putin angered with parts from South Korea


Lerato Khumalo

During his recent state visit, Vladimir Putin gave dictator Kim Jong Un a Russian-made luxury limousine. However, the car contains South Korean parts.

The limousine that Russian President Vladimir Putin presented to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a gift during his recent visit to Pyongyang may not only contain parts made in Russia. According to customs documents, the manufacturer of the luxury car uses numerous imported goods, including parts from South Korea, which Kim has named as “enemy number one”.

Russia imported equipment and parts for Aurus cars and motorcycles worth at least $34 million between 2018 and 2023, according to documents seen by Reuters. More recent data was not available. Parts worth around $15.5 million were imported from South Korea. But China and countries from the European Union are also among the suppliers.

After Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, deliveries continued. Goods worth five million dollars have been delivered from South Korea alone since February 2022, the documents show.

The Aurus sedan is intended to serve as a symbol of Russia’s self-sufficient production of luxury cars. It was developed by the state-run Nami Institute in cooperation with the Russian car manufacturer Sollers, which sold its share in Aurus. The company now wants to expand its production by using a former Toyota factory, among other things.

The Japanese manufacturer, like many other Western companies, left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. Putin has already given Kim two Aurus cars as a gift – a first during the North Korean’s visit to Moscow in February and a second, slightly modified model during his visit to North Korea in June.