The 58-year-old prime minister has traditionally gone out of his way to plug the struggling Russian brand and with it his own patriotic credentials. He owns a military-style Lada jeep, and last summer drove a canary yellow Lada across Russia's Far East on a heavily publicised road trip.
But his latest stunt backfired badly when he got behind the wheel of a new Lada Granta and tried and for a long time failed to start the engine.
Video footage of the incident on Wednesday showed Mr Putin anxiously trying to start the brand new cherry-coloured Lada but failing to do so at least five times.
Reporters on the scene, at the Lada factory in the Russian town of Togliatti, said Mr Putin had also struggled to open the car's boot, and that at least two executives had to get involved to help him.
Wearing sunglasses and casually dressed in a shirt and a sports jacket, Mr Putin pronounced himself satisfied with the Lada Granta nonetheless, calling it "a good car".
Conceding it had been a struggle to start its engine, he blamed himself, saying he had pressed down on the accelerator too sharply because he had not known that the car was fitted with an electronic accelerator that needed to be only gently pressed.
The new car, that will cost the equivalent of less than £5,000 to buy when it is released later this year, is being touted as "the people's car" that millions of Russian motorists have been waiting for. Mr Putin has adopted a noticeably more public profile in recent weeks, fuelling speculation that he is seriously considering running for the Russian presidency next March.
Everyone knows that a Lada, though fresh from the assembly line, is never a "complete" car. My fellow invaders who have bough these machines, out of pure fiscal misery or masochism-a-la-turca, pointed out to the fact that the cost of a Lada easily gets doubled on its painful evolution from a mobile piece of crap to an automobile look-alike. It is rumored that there is an industry, on comparably same financial size of Lada factories combined, that is producing replacable parts for Lada automobiles, mostly the ones that the hapless drivers have in vision such as dashboards, clutch pedals and gear sticks. That is also an answer why "no Lada is like another"...some ultra patriotic and hopelessly drunk Russian friends compare that analogy to a handmade Ferrari but the resemblance is in words only.