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The Global Manufacturer

Vladimir Putin and the Amazing Flying Car

Now that Russia has annexed Crimea, there remains the pesky issue of getting there from Russia. Let’s assume for now that Russia won’t grab any more of eastern Ukraine and just drive there through an expanding Russian territory.

On March 3, the Russian government announced it would speed up plans for a bridge to connect its Krasnodar region with Crimea. The bridge will span about a 3-mile stretch of water. Let’s hope they build the bridge with Chinese steel; Putin needs all the friends he can get.

Bridges, of course, take time to build. In the meantime, you can get there by ferry, or guided-missile cruiser. You can fly in. But there is another option available to the president or oligarch who has everything.

Chicago-based manufacturer Mercier-Jones announced it will be delivering its first 10 Supercraft hovercrafts in May. Perhaps Putin would like to get on the list for one. Each Supercraft costs $75,000 and, promises CEO Michael Mercier, will be “the car of the future you can drive really fast over land, ice, sand, water and everything in between.”

Check out this list of features: “hybrid electric drivetrain; liquid cooled duel rotary engine; alternative fuel conversion packages for diesel, propane, ethanol and natural gas; fly-by-wire control system; carbon-fiber body; light weight chromium alloy frame; halogen lamps; LED running lights; GPS navigation; Android driven cockpit display; Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity; hands free phone integration; 4 speaker digital audio system; custom made Formula One inspired seats; refrigerated personal drink wells; 6 color schemes including Gotham Night; customized wood trim packages including teak, walnut and maple; and personalized monograms.”

It’s hard not to imagine a macho guy like Putin wanting one of these supercar-inspired babies. Just grab a thug personal assistant, hop in the Supercraft with a bottle of Stolichnaya and head over to see the new acquisition at an estimated 80 miles an hour.

It’s true that the Supercraft may be a little overengineered for the Russian market. Mercier-Jones notes that the Supercraft’s “eco-friendly hybrid powertrain improves performance while reducing environmental impact and noise pollution.” Russia has plenty of oil, as our friends in Europe are quick to point out, so fuel efficiency hardly seems an issue. And as for noise pollution, it’s tough to hear anything with all those tanks rumbling around.

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