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Russian car market
July 21, 2006 14:31


Russians have dismissed the purchase of an apartment as a dream and instead are eyeing cars. The market of foreign brands has grown 50% in the first half of 2006. The second hand market is estimated to be three times bigger.

The 50% increase means 418,280 brand new machines have hit the streets. More than 100,000 are assembled on joint ventures and foreign plants built on the Russian territory. Plus 45,699 Daewoo and Lanos brought over from Uzbekistan and Ukraine respectively.

The figures do not include 325,000 AvtoVAZ models, Russian leader in the industry, and some 80,000 VOLGA models of the GAZ corporation.

Of course, the cheap price for AvtoVAZ still draws most of the consumers. But the trend is changing. Growing income and frustration about mortgage schemes force people to invest in mobile property of high quality and price. 13% of the population are said to be able to afford expensive products. Furthermore, banks are struggling to keep up with the pace and join dealers to issue winsome loans. Sometimes, you don’t even need the first installment to be able to buy a car.

South Korean Hyundai tops the 1H 2006 rating, with 47,370 cars sold by Russian dealers. It is a 12% hike on last year’s results. Not a big advantage, and won mainly by Accent, while Elantra is on the wane. The summer might see a new wave of interest following the presentation of the new Elantra and Verna, worth less than $20,000.

Trailing behind is Chevrolet, with 44,760 machines, up 47%. Mainly, due to the Russian breed of Niva. At the same time, the company has seen increasing demand for Chevrolet DAT series, including Aveo and Lacetti. The latter has a good price as far as station wagons go.

Japanese Toyota (40,839 cars) ranks third with its hits Corolla and Yaris. They are not the cheapest in this group, but enjoy an everlasting love with Russians for reliability and simplicity. Toyota has earned the fame with its second-hand right-wheel cars brought to the Russian Far East straight from Japan.

Ford, a potential leader with 36,826 cars sold, has encountered some problems. It came up with such an attractive offer that the dealers were simply besieged with people willing to buy the stylish Ford Focus II. Now waiting for a Ford might be like waiting for a child to be born – cars which will be produced within this year have been sold out. Applications are accepted only for the next year’s supply.

Ford has launched heavy advertising for other models, like C-MAX, Fiesta, and a new minivan S-MAX.

Mitsubishi is fifth with 33,982 machines. Its top hit is sedan Lancer, the price starting from under $15,000.

Daewoo is losing its audience (32,300), with old Matiz and Nexia delivered from Uzbekistan.

Renault has come to stay at a Moscow plant which used to produce Russian makes. Sales have soared 194%. Out of 30,864 Logan model makes up 21,115. Moscow mayor has been urging the corporation to increase its assembly capacity, but Renault does not rush to do it. Previous model Symbol has fallen out of favour.

Nissan is keeping up with the times and does not wait till customers turn to other brands. It constantly reminds them of Nissan with innovations. As soon as Almera started getting out of focus, it reinforced the line with Almera Classic. It also has Teana and Nissan Qashqai.

Kia boasts Spectra made at Izhevsk plant, which earlier produced Russian Oda model. If it kicks off Kia Rio II with a discount, it might scrape into the Top 5.

Mazda is the last in Top 10, although the whole Moscow is teeming with Mazda cars. Mazda 3 is extremely popular with women, but is also like by young men. Mazda 6 is good for family trips.

 


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