Russian Auto Sales Recover, Domestic, Chinese Brands Most Popular

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Sales of new cars in Russia have picked up after two slow months, with 32,000 new vehicles sold, according to the Association of European Businesses (AEB). The trend is now expected to continue for the rest of the year, although pent up demand means there are erratic numbers of cars in warehouses, and price fluctuations may vary.

The top 10 brands according to AEB are the same players, but Russian and Chinese brands are improving their positions, South Korea’s Kia and Hyundai have maintained market share, while European brands such as Renault, VW, and Skoda are all losing share as stocks are depleted. Only eight manufacturers managed to sell more than a thousand cars in July. Sales of Japanese brands are in the hundreds, while premium brands are in the dozens.

The main driver of July growth was AvtoVAZ, which managed to resume the production of Grants, albeit in a simplified configuration, selling 10,323 new vehicles in July. There has also been an increase for other Russian brands, and especially with GAZ and UAZ. Programs of concessional Russian domestic leasing also played a role in boosting domestic sales.


Avtovaz’s Lada XCode

Chinese brands also showed growth. Haval and Geely maintained market share while Changan and DFM surpassed their 2021 results.

Sergey Burgazliev, an independent automotive industry consultant, had advise for Changan saying that if they had made a full-fledged representation and worked better with dealers, their sales would have been several times higher. The problem is not in logistics or covid, but in the absence of a strategic decision about Russia” “he said, also saying that Chinese vehicle deliveries to Russia are now stable.

Chery’s achievements are somewhat unknown as they remain outside the immediate July AEB statistics: the Chinese manufacturer now reports once a quarter. However, according to Avtostat, Chery sold 2,577 cars of in July, plus another 1,012 models of their premium Exeed brand.

Looking at the top 25 best selling auto brands in July, ten South Korean brands, four Russian and four Chinese brands, and just one Japanese brand – Mazda – made the list.

The top 25 first place was taken by the Lada Granta, with sales of 6,541 cars, followed by Vesta (1641 units), even though they have not yet been able to resume full production. The most popular foreign car was the Hyundai Creta crossover (1,306 cars), it outperformed even the Kia Rio (1,161 units). The most popular Chinese car according to AEB remains the Haval Jolion with 1,050 cars sold.


The Haval Jolion – Russia’s most popular Chinese made car

The sales dynamics of cars in Russia has been affected by a significant shortage of cars, which is still deteriorating. The results of sales of Hyundai Solaris were affected by the suspension of the plant in St. Petersburg in March, while at the same time stocks of finished products ran out.

In March-June, the main problem was a sharp decline in the supply of cars on the Russian market, associated with the suspension of production of almost all enterprises as parts supply chains dried up. Now the situation has changed, in particular at AvtoVAZ and Haval, as supply chains have been rerouted, and it was possible to restart auto production. Trends and solutions to EU supply chain issues and their replacements mean that the Russian market will see a gradual increase in sales – approximately at the level of 40,000 cars per month.

AvtoVAZ models are expected to retain their leadership among the most popular cars, while Chinese brands will also take an increasing share of sales, filling in for the exiting European brands.

According to Avtostat, prices for new cars have now remained stable. Avilon AG have also confirmed that early year price fluctuations in the industry have already been overcome, although prices for premium sector cars will become more expensive in the future, against the backdrop of the depletion of dealer stocks.

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Russia Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. During these uncertain times and sanctions imposition, our firm assists Russian companies relocate to Asia, and provides financial and sanctions compliance services to foreign companies operating in Russia. We also provide market research and advisory services to foreign exporters interested in Russia as the economy looks to replace Western sourced products. Please contact us at russia@dezshira.com or visit us at www.dezshira.com.