|PART FOUR: QUESTIONS 16 – 20
Listen to the text about Range Rover.
Circle the BEST answer (a – d) for the questions (16 – 20).
(0) has been done for you as an example.
You now have one minute to look at the questions.
Now listen to the text. You will hear the text once.
It’s early evening in Moscow’s upmarket Valery club and an invited Muscovite has a question to ask: “If you were to put a limpet bomb on top of the roof,” he inquires, “would the Range Rover withstand the blast?”
Before the Land Rover technician can answer, a small moustachioed figure appears from behind my left shoulder. He is dressed in full combat gear and is brandishing a Kalashnikov rifle. He kneels beside a pile of sandbags and unloads eight live rounds into the side of a Range Rover, parked 30 yards away. Next, he steps closer, draws a Makarov pistol, and fires eight more shots. Then he is gone and we are called forward to inspect the damage.
This is not the sort of test usually associated with a car launch. But then this is no ordinary car launch.
Although it’s no longer quite the lawless capital of the “wild east” that it was, security is still a top priority for many Muscovite businessmen, gangsters and former agents. Land Rover, with its reputation for security and reliability, has been quick to spot an opportunity: in Russia it sales are up 97% on last year, to more than 1,100 vehicles, including more than 440 Range Rovers.
Now the company has gone one step further. Earlier this month in a heavily guarded Moscow sports club. It held a launch event for the new, armoured Range Rover. Present were a specially invited group of men in suits and shades. Some were private individuals, but the majority were from the security teams that specialize in protection of Russia’s new magnates.
Andrew Daniel, the managing director of Land Rover Russia, explains: ”In 2001, the last year for which figures are available there were 25,000 contract killings in this country. The situation is improving and business is becoming more civilized, but the threat is still there. If you’ve upset the wrong person, there could be a problem.”
According to Daniel, the going rate for an assassination in Russia is $5,000. “That doesn’t sound like much,” he says, “but it is a lot for the guy on the street who has just been discharged from the army.” And with national service still compulsory in Russia, there’s no shortage of trained killers.
There is also another reason why some Russian businessmen choose an armoured vehicle. “It is a status symbol,” he says. “When you buy an expensive car you show that your business is okay. By word of mouth, everybody will know that the head of this company is using an armoured car.”
The armoured Range Rover is certainly very expensive. Even in base trim it costs ₤245,000 and that figure can rise to ₤280,000 if customers choose to personalize their vehicle. The hefty sum buys a car armoured with such exotic materials as carbon fibre, Kevlar and Dyneema.
The glass is up to 1 ½ in thick, there is an on-board oxygen system to offer protection against a gas attack and an intercom system allows the driver to talk to pedestrians without opening the window. The car weighs 3.5 tons.
Babayev Andrey used to be a member of Russia’s special forces and is connected to both the new spheres of business and the monolithic state institutions. ”We have achieved such a high level of security within the club that our VIPs leave their own guards outside, ”he says proudly. “That is why when we invite people here, they know their security will be guaranteed.” But where did he hire the gunman? How did he know he could be trusted?
“This is a confidential matter, ”says Andrey. “We shouldn’t speak about that person as an individual, we should just speak about the system.”
The success of the test, held in front of Russia’s most powerful security men, should go some way towards making sure that Land Rover Russia meets its target of selling six armoured cars this year.
But as we prepared to leave, I’m still curious about that limpet bomb. Nick Youdan, the head of Land Rover’s armoured vehicle sales, interjects:”Our vehicle can’t be guaranteed against every conceivable attack, and to survive a limpet bomb you’d really need a tank.”
(END OF TAPESCRIPT)
You now have one minute to check your answers.
Now turn over the page for PART FIVE.