* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *
After -29% in January and -13 in February, the Russian new car market continue to slow down its fall at -10% in March to 125.917 units, partly because the volumes of a year ago were already at historical lows: March 2015 was down 42%. At 319.092 registrations, the year-to-date total over the first quarter is down a paltry 17% on the same period in 2015 which was already down 38% on 2014. Lada (-19%) and Hyundai (-21%) fall at double the rate of the market, resulting in much reduced market shares of 17.7% and 8.7% respectively, while Kia is actually up 2% to 9.8%. These evolutions translate in very different ways in the models ranking as we’ll see below. Inside the Top 10, only Toyota (-15%) lose share while Skoda (+6%), GAZ (+11%) and UAZ (+50%) improve.
But the most impressive surge is delivered by Ford boosted by strong performances of the Kuga and Fiesta as we saw in the February detail and more than doubling its volume year-on-year at 4.071 units, up 120% to 11th place. Further down and in order of ranking, BMW (+23%), Lifan (+63%), Chery (+34%), Suzuki (+36%) and Cadillac (+241%) deliver strong gains while on the other end of the scale Mazda (-34%), Mitsubishi (-45%), Datsun (-51%) and Ssangyong (-61%) crumble down. It’s a particularly disappointing result for the rebirth of the Datsun brand that had started all guns blazing a little over a year ago.
Once again it’s the models ranking that is showing the greatest level of movement as the new Lada Vesta continues to climb up the ladder but is cannibalising the Granta in the process. The winners so far are the consistently solid Koreans compact sedans: the Hyundai Solaris is frankly in the lead, going with the market at -11% to 7.678 sales and the Kia Rio at #2 despite sales down 19% to 5.832. The Granta is in freefall at -58% to just 5.181 units while the Vesta is up 55% on its February score to 4.595 sales in 4th place overall.
In March, the year-on-year volume loss endured by the Granta (7.257) and Priora (1.002) which the Vesta officially replaces, adds up to 8.259 units, far from being compensated by the incremental Vesta sales (4.595). The big unknown factor here is whether the Vesta has the volume potential to actually replace the Granta in the Russian pole position. This isn’t a done deal and would actually indicate a very significant shift in purchasing habits from the Russian population as the Vesta is twice as expensive as the Granta. If not, we may be witnessing the start of an era of Korean domination in the models sales charts, a historical first in Russia.
Below, and impressive 6 nameplates inside the Top 12 deliver double-digit gains: the Renault Duster (+35%), VW Polo (+40%), Chevrolet Niva (+24%), Toyota RAV4 (+18%), Renault Sandero (+25%) and Kia Cee’d (+85%) all show impressive strength, as does the UAZ Patriot up 58% to #17. Finally the second all-new Lada launch in the past 6 months, the XRAY crossover, breaks into the Top 25 for its 2nd month in market, up from #32 in February to #23 with 1.518 sales and 1.2% market share in March. This score should improve steadily over the coming months as production ramps up, and it will be interesting to see to which degree it cannibalises the brand’s other SUV offer, the veteran Lada 4×4. For now, the 4×4 year-on-year loss (709 units or -18%) is inferior to the incremental sales the XRAY is bringing (1.518): so far so good.
Previous month: Russia February 2016: Hyundai Solaris leads YTD, market down 13%
Full March 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 25 models below.