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Russia: BSCB coverage triggers article on #1 Russian car magazine

July 11th, 2015 No comments

Za Rulem CoverZa Rulem is the most popular car magazine and website in Russia.

BSCB’s coverage of the Russian market, and in particular the toppling of the Lada Granta by the Kia Rio last November and the Hyundai Solaris last January and May has prompted Russia’s largest automotive magazine, Za Rulem and website (www.zr.ru), also the 6th best-selling automotive magazine in Europe, to run a long feature on the history of best-sellers in Russia.

VAZ 2101. Picture courtesy zr.ruBSCB’s coverage prompted Za Rulem to retrace the history of Russia’s best-sellers.

BSCB was the first website in the world to note that the arrival of the Kia Rio in first place last November was the first time a foreign model took the reigns of the Russian market since the creation of the Lada brand back in 1970. Za Rulem has built on this information and the subsequent crowning of the Hyundai Solaris in its article, also drawing parallels with the Lada Vista scheduled to launch towards the end of 2015, as we have done also last month.

Hyundai Solaris Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Hyundai Solaris managed to top Russian sales charts twice this year…

You can see the full Za Rulem article here (with a mention to Best Selling Cars Blog). It’s in Russian but Google Translate or any other translating software should enlighten you real quick. Za Rulem is under the opinion that the Kia Rio and Hyundai Solaris success, although undeniable, will not result in Lada losing the top spot in the long term, as the Lada brand still has a very large consumer base that will ebb and flow but is enough to sustain the pole position. I’m not as certain of this as the Russian magazine is.

Kia Rio Russia 2015. Picture courtesy of zr.ruLast November, the Kia Rio was the first foreign model to top Russian sales in 45 years.

Another element ZR raised to justify Lada’s long term dominance which is more convincing to me is the production constraints the Korean models are already facing: while the Lada Granta sold 150.000 units in 2014 alone, the Rio and Solaris share the same plant that has a combined production capacity of 230.000 units, and their share will be reduced in 2016 with the arrival of an SUV on the production lines (potentially the ix25, currently produced in China only). Only a second plant – risky in the current context, or imports – made too expensive by the tax structure and the current galloping inflation, could put the Solaris and Rio in a better position to regularly outsell the Granta, or any other best-selling Lada of the future.

Our coverage of the Russian market is here: BSCB Russia coverage, and the historical Kia Rio and Hyundai Solaris wins are analysed in detailed here:

Russia November 2014: Shock: Kia Rio first foreign model #1

Russia January 2015: Hyundai Solaris hits #1 in market down 24%

Russia May 2015: Hyundai Solaris outsells Lada Granta, Nissan X-Trail surges to #5

 

Categories: Russia

Russia 1st Half 2015: Hyundai and Kia winners in damaged market

July 10th, 2015 No comments

Hyundai Solaris Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy motorpage.ruThe Hyundai Solaris managed to top the Russian models ranking twice so far in 2015.

* See the Top 60 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

No sign of improvement at the horizon for the Russian new car market, in freefall this year at -36% to just 782.094 registrations halfway through 2015. Local association AEB is trying its best to minimise the impact of the situation, stating that “it could be much worse” (hardly), were it not for “the ongoing reduction in base interest rates as the door opener for a successful reanimation of credit-financed demand, and the continuing – and recently increased – government subsidising of lower interest rates and scrappage schemes. However there is no macroeconomic justification for a potential recovery within the next 12 months it now looks almost certain that Russia will drop by at least 30% by the time 2015 comes to an end, lodging the weakest annual tally in a decade.

Lexus NX Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy nova-motors.ruRussian Lexus sales are up 3% so far in 2015…

Crisis times almost always trigger market consolidation towards trusted manufacturers and this year is no exception in Russia. The Top 3 best-sellers go from a combined market share of 31.1% one year ago to 37.9% over the First Half of 2015. Local carmaker Lada gains over two percentage points, going from 15.7% share to 18% thanks to sales down ‘just’ 27% to 140.686. But the real winners in Russia this year are Korean manufacturing couple Hyundai and Kia. Hyundai is down 11% to see its market share gain 3 percentage points from 7.3% to 10.2% while Kia is down 19% to go from 7.6% to 9.7%. If these year-on-year drops seem surprisingly high to warrant the title of ‘winners’, that’s because you haven’t seen the rest of the list yet…

Porsche Macan Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.uk… while Porsche is up 18%.

Lexus (+3%) at #20 and Porsche (+18%) at #34 are the only manufacturers in the Top 45 posting a year-on-year volume increase. Mercedes drops by just 3% and is up 6 ranks to spectacularly land inside the Top 10 at #10, UAZ surfs on the SUV wave to fall just 2% at #13 and BMW is down 21% to improve to #15. In spite of a very badly timed launch, Datsun confirms Russia is really the only country in the world where its relaunch as a low-cost brand can be deemed successful. The Japanese manufacturer seems to have reached its cruising rhythm however at #14 and 2.4% share – almost exactly the same as during Q1 (#12 and 2.4%).

Donfeng S30 Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruDongfeng S30 – Dongfeng is entering the Russian market at very troubled times.

Dongfeng is the only other new carmaker launch over the period, at a very discreet #44 with 408 sales and 0.1% share. Notwithstanding the manufacturers mentioned above, the rest of brands ranking looks like a hunting board: Honda (-79%), Peugeot (-77%), Citroen (-74%), Chery, Ssangyong, Suzuki, Opel – scheduled to be discontinued in Russia in December (all at -73%), Great Wall (-71%), Jeep (-69%), Chevrolet (-65%), Geely (-59%), Volvo (-58%), Daewoo (-57%) and Ford (-56%) – despite reiterating it is confident its Russian sales will rebound, would all rather pretend 2015 never occurred…

Toyota Camry Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Toyota Camry is now inside the Russian Top 10.

Similarly to the brands ranking, we are witnessing a clear consolidation of the models charts towards a handful of trusted fares: the Lada Granta (-11%) goes from 5.8% to 8.1% share, the Hyundai Solaris (-3%) from 4.5% to 6.9% and the Kia Rio (-10%) from 3.8% to 5.5%. As a result the podium holds 20.5% share vs. just 14.1% a year ago. The big event over the period is the overall pole position of the Hyundai Solaris, not once but twice: in January and May. This means the Lada Granta was outsold during 3 of the past 8 months, counting the November win of the Kia Rio. Times are changing, as local website zr.ru described in a long article quoting BestSellingCarsBlog.

UAZ Patriot Russia June 2015Excellent start of the year for the UAZ Patriot, now inside the Russian Top 25.

Outside the podium, the Lada Kalina (-41%) only owes its 4th spot to the demise of the Renault Duster (-51%) while the VW Polo (-36%) gains two spots and the Renault Logan (-18%) gains four. The antediluvian Lada 4×4 was up to a stunning 4th place over Q1 2015 and recedes down to a more reasonable #8, one of only three nameplates in the Top 25 to post a year-on-year increase at +6% and 7 spots. The other two are the Skoda Rapid up 185% but launched exactly a year ago, and the UAZ Patriot up 7% to #23. Notice also the Toyota Camry up 7 ranks to #10, the Datsun on-DO landing at #13 and the Nissan X-Trail up 5 spots to #20.

Previous post: Russia June 2015: Lada Granta reclaims #1 spot at record 10% share

Q1 2015 update: Russia 1st Quarter 2015: Datsun oblivious to devastated market

FY 2014 updates:

Russia Full Year 2014: Lada Granta survives foreign push

Russia Full Year 2014: Now with the Top 434 All-models ranking

One year ago: Russia June 2014: Skoda Rapid lands in deteriorating market

Full H1 2015 Top 60 All-brands and Top 25 models vs. Full H1 2014 figures below.

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Categories: Russia

Russia June 2015: Lada Granta reclaims #1 spot at record 10% share

July 9th, 2015 1 comment

Lada Granta Russia June 2015The Lada Granta hits its best-ever market share at home this month.

* See the Top 53 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

The Russian new car market reduces its fall slightly in June to a still very harsh -30% at 140.161 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 782.094 units, down an abysmal 36% on 2014. Like last month, we witness a consolidation of the market with the Top 3 manufacturers over-performing: Lada is down 12% to 18.8% share, Kia is down 18% to 9.9% and Hyundai is down 22% to 9.3%, all 3 adding up to 38% share vs. just 32% a year ago. Below, Renault (-39%), Toyota (-35%) and Volkswagen (-39%) tumble down while Nissan (-26%) stays afloat somewhat. GAZ is down just 1% in 8th place, while UAZ continues to surf on the SUV craze and is once again the only mass manufacturer to gain ground year-on-year at +13% to #11 and 2.8% share vs. #16 and 1.7% a year ago. Notice also Lexus 2% and Porsche down just 8%. At the other end of the scale, we have Jeep (-79%), Ssangyong (-75%), Great Wall (-73%), Citroen (-66%), Opel, Peugeot and Subaru (-65%).

Lada 4x4 Urban Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruLada 4×4 sales are up 23% year-on-year in June.

In the models ranking, after being outsold by the Hyundai Solaris last month and knocked down to 2nd place for the third time in the past 7 months, the Lada Granta is back with a vengeance, up year-on-year for the first time in 2015 at +8% to 14.031 sales and a record 10% share, smashing its previous best of 8.9% reached last March. With the Hyundai Solaris down 12% and the Kia Rio actually up 3%, the Top 3 best-sellers hold a combined 22.4% market share vs. just 16.2% a year ago, demonstrating that the market consolidation we are witnessing in the brands ranking is also occurring among the favourite models in the country – a typical trait of markets in crisis where buyers opt for the safer option of trusted nameplates.

Nissan X-Trail Russia June 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Nissan X-Trail is up 106% year-on-year thanks to the new model.

Outside the podium, the only models registering year-on-year gains in the Top 25 are all SUVs. If the Renault Duster is back in the segment lead despite sales down 43% on a year ago, the Lada 4×4 is up a fantastic 23% to 3.023 sales and #8, the Toyota RAV4 is up 2% to #10, the Nissan X-Trail up 106% to #13 thanks to the new generation and the UAZ Patriot up 17% to #21. Notice also the Toyota Camry up 5 spots on May to #9, the Nissan Almera back up 9 ranks to #11 and the Mitsubishi Outlander posting a 2nd consecutive month within the Top 25 at #24.

Previous month: Russia May 2015: Hyundai Solaris outsells Lada Granta, Nissan X-Trail surges to #5

One year ago: Russia June 2014: Skoda Rapid lands in deteriorating market

Full June 2015 Top 53 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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Categories: Russia

Russia May 2015: Hyundai Solaris outsells Lada Granta, Nissan X-trail soars to 5th place

June 10th, 2015 1 comment

Nissan X-Trail Russia May 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Nissan X-Trail is the most popular SUV in the whole of Russia in May…

* See the Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

The Russian new car market is down another abysmal 38% year-on-year both in May (125.801) and so far this year (641.933). The Russian macroeconomic indicators however remain shaky: inflation has stabilised to 15.8% in May vs. 16.9% in March which was the highest since 2002, and the GDP decline is set to accelerate from 1.9% over Q1 2015 to 4% in both Q2 and Q3. After trying – and failing – to ignite sales with a scrappage scheme earlier in the year, the Russian government has been offering subsidised auto loans and allowing consumer leasing since April, with Industry Minister Denis Manturov boldly announcing that this may boost auto sales by at least 300.000 units this year. For now, sales under the subsidised auto loan program stand at 38.500 vehicles in one and a half month.

Hyundai Solaris Russia May 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ru…while the Hyundai Solaris is the overall best-selling nameplate in the country.

Once again the Top 3 manufacturers outpace the market resulting in a rare market consolidation: Lada (-33%), Hyundai (-13%) and Kia (-27%) hold a combined market share of 38.8% this month vs. just 33% a year ago. On the other hand, the next 4 carmakers all fall at least as fast as the market anew: Renault (-42%), Nissan (-38%), Toyota (-43%) and Volkswagen (-48%) all decline sharply. Lifted by the SUV fashion, UAZ is the only mass manufacturer to actually increase its volume year-on-year: up 8% to 3.853 units in 10th position vs. 16th a year ago with the Patriot up 21% to #21. Only Cadillac (130 deliveries), Brilliance (78) and Smart (75) also increase with Porsche (458) and Mini (100) stable. Worryingly down to #16 and 1.9% share last month, Datsun is back in the game in May at #14 with 3.367 units and 2.7%, simply its strongest market share in Russia so far and 2nd best volume below the 3.502 sold in March. Subaru (-81%), Jeep, Volvo (-82%), BAW (-86%), Haima (-87%), Ssangyong and Chrysler (both at -88%) lodge the most depressing scores.

Lada Vesta Russia May 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Lada Vesta will hit Russian dealerships this November.

The biggest surprise resides in the models ranking. Alarmingly for Lada, the Granta isn’t the best-selling nameplate at home for the third time in the past 7 months. Last November, the Kia Rio send shockwaves through the market by becoming the first foreign model to top Russian sales charts since the creation of the Lada homebrand in 1970, and last January the Hyundai Solaris replicated the same exploit by ranking #1. This month it becomes the first foreign nameplate in 45 years to manage to top Russian sales twice thanks to an incredible 10.654 units sold for a 8.5% market share, its highest volume since September 2013 and strongest Russian market share ever. The Lada Granta is down a harsh 35% to 8.471 sales while the Kia Rio is down 12% at #3 and the Lada Kalina down just 2% year-on-year but up two spots on April to #4.

Lada range – Russian sales and prices as at May 2015:

Model May sales 2015 sales Starting price (roubles) Starting price (US$)
Lada Vesta Nov 2015 launch Nov 2015 launch 500,000 9,000
Lada Priora 1.637 (-56%) 11.463 (-48%) 420,000 7,550
Lada Largus 3.519 (-53%) 15.523 (-44%) 417,000 7,500
Lada 4×4 2.918 (-11%) 16.701 (+3%) 395,000 7,100
Lada Kalina 5.604 (-2%) 18.309 (-42%) 361,300 6,500
Lada Granta 8.471 (-35%) 49.542 (-15%) 311,600 5,600

While we linked the last two occurrences of Granta failing to defend its pole position to years of meticulous build-up of Hyundai and Kia dealer networks in the Russian countryside as well as the surprising strength of its slightly more upmarket rebadge the Datsun on-DO, this time there may be a third element explaining the Granta’s particularly harsh decline. More and more spy pictures are emerging on Russian car websites of the upcoming Lada Vesta: official production is scheduled kick start at Eastern Russian Izhevsk plant on September 25 for an on sale date of November 1, 5.000 units planned by the end of the year and 120.000 for 2016. Positioned on top of the Lada range despite being shorter than a Priora (see price list above), the Vesta will be in frontal competition with the very Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio that are currently challenging the Granta supremacy at home, and could be Lada’s best chance at keeping the #1 models spot in the near future. We are therefore potentially entering a period of about 18 months worth of shaky ground for Lada nameplates, the time it will take for buyers to readjust their understanding of the Lada range’s value equation. Check this page for a complete list of Lada prices in Russia.

Mitsubishi Outlander Russia May 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruMitsubishi Outlander Russian sales are up 87% year-on-year in May.

Ranked outside the Top 25 in April after an appearance at #16 in March, the Nissan X-Trail achieves one of the most impressive month-on-month leaps of any nameplate since BSCB has started following Russia monthly 5 years ago: it surges up to 5th place overall thanks to sales up 188% on the old model a year ago to 3.608 units and 2.9% share. This makes the X-Trail Russia’s best-selling SUV above the Toyota RAV4 up 10 spots on April to #7 and 3.516 sales – equalling its best-ever ranking also reached last November- and the Renault Duster at #9 and 3.427 deliveries. Notice also the Mitsubishi Outlander up 87% year-on-year to make its first appearance in the Russian Top 15 since last December at #12.

Previous month: Russia April 2015: Datsun fades in market down 41%

One year ago: Russia May 2014: Lada Largus smashes record, Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

Full May 2015 Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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Categories: Russia

Russia April 2015: Datsun fades in market down 41%

May 14th, 2015 No comments

Nissan Terrano Russia 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruFirst Top 25 ranking in Russia for the Nissan Terrano, a Renault Duster rebadge.

* See the Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

The Russian market is stuck in hell: -41.5% year-on-year in April to 132.456 registrations, the lowest April score in over a decade, even below April 2009 in the midst of the global recession. Year-to-date figures are now down 38% on 2014 to 516.135 deliveries, however local organisation AEB rather optimistically foresees a “flattening of the negative trend in the coming months.” Once again local manufacturer Lada fares slightly better than the market at -37% in April and -29% year-to-date, resulting in an improved 17.3% market share. Koreans Kia down 22% to 10.5% share and Hyundai down 14% to 10.3% are the real winners in these troubled times, cementing their spots on the podium and keeping Renault (-41%), Toyota (-54%), Nissan (-47%) and Volkswagen (-44%) at a comfortable distance.

Datsun on-DO Russia October 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruPeaking out: Datsun.

Hero of the past 6 months, recently relaunched low-cost brand Datsun shows worrying signs of peaking out this month: down to #16 overall with 2.508 sales and 1.9% share, its lowest volume since October which was its first full month in market and lowest share since December. The Datsun on-DO, after cracking the Top 10 in December (#10) and January (#7) is now down to #21 with 1.622 sales and 1.2% share, its weakest performance since October. Is the honeymoon between Datsun and Russian car buyers coming to an end? The brand’s April scores still make for an impressive performance taken in isolation in the current depressed Russian context, but the signs of eroded sales frenzy are undeniable.

Honda CR-V Russia April 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruNo splash: Honda sales are down 84% year-on-year in Russia this month.

Still running against the tide are luxury brands in Russia: Mercedes is down just 9% at #11, Lexus is up 5% at #17 with 2.200 registrations whereas it ranked #27 over the Full Year 2014 and Porsche is up 12% to 537 sales and #27 (#39 in 2014). Also, SUV specialist UAZ benefits from the current SUV craze and sees its sales decline by just 3% at #12 with the Patriot progressing further to #20 in the models ranking. At the other end of the scale, Chevrolet, soon to be dismantled in Russia, is down 64% but back up to #8 overall thanks to the Niva, Opel which will be discontinued here at the end of 2015 is down 59%, Citroen down 70%, Chery down 72%, Suzuki down 75%, Peugeot down 76%, Subaru down 79% and Honda down 84%.

Skoda Rapid Russia April 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruBrand’s best-seller: the Skoda Rapid.

The Lada Granta (-21%) maintains itself at a very high market share (7.8%) as do the Hyundai Solaris down just 8% to 6.8% and the Kia Rio down 13% to 5.9%. Despite sales down 40%, the Renault Duster climbs back to #4 and #1 SUV in Russia, also leaping up to #5 in 2015. The VW Polo (-38%) is back up 5 ranks to #5, the Chevrolet Niva up 8 to #9, the Toyota Camry is down just 23% at #12 while the Skoda Rapid celebrates one year in Russia by hitting its best ranking so far at #13. The tail end of the Top 25 is once again crowded with SUVs: the Kia Sportage (#16), Toyota RAV4 (#17), Hyundai ix35 (#18), UAZ Patriot (#20), Mazda CX-5 (#22) and the Nissan Terrano earning its first Top 25 ranking at #24 with 1.272 sales and 1% share.

Previous post: Russia 1st Quarter 2015: Datsun oblivious to devastated market

Previous month: Russia March 2015: Only SUV sales resist in market down 43%

One year ago: Russia April 2014: Nissan Almera breaks records again

Full April 2015 Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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Categories: Russia

Russia 1st Quarter 2015: Datsun oblivious to devastated market

May 2nd, 2015 No comments

Datsun on-DO Russia March 2015. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Datsun on-DO is an instant blockbuster in troubled Russia.

* See the Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

Catastrophic results for the Russian new car market, crumbling down over the effects of galloping inflation triggered by economic sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis. Despite scrappage schemes implemented by the government, first quarter sales are in freefall: down 36% from 602.523 units a year ago to just 383.691 this year. Lada takes advantage of the situation somewhat, declining ‘only’ 25% to 68.544 deliveries which bumps its market share almost 3 points to 17.9% compared to 15.2% over the same period in 2014. Renault and Nissan (both down 41%) step aside to give way to Korean Hyundai (-4%) and Kia (-15%) up to #2 and #3 respectively.

Hyundai Solaris Russia March 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Solaris helps Hyundai up to #2 brand overall so far in 2015.

The manufacturers hardest hit by the crisis literally implode: Honda (-87%), Opel, Peugeot (-80%), Citroen, Chery (-78%), Suzuki (-75%), Chevrolet (-72%), Ford (-71%) and a couple of other Chinese carmakers like Geely (-62%) and Great Wall (-67%) are only but a shadow of themselves. The situation is so serious that General Motors has decided to abandon local production and pull the Opel brand out of Russia altogether, and most of Chevrolet models sold here. Ford is the notable exception, confirming it will endeavour to withstand the Russian storm with 4 new launches for the year, starting with the all-new Mondeo last month.

Mercedes C-Class Russia March 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruMercedes is now among the Top 10 best-selling brands in Russia.

In this context and as is often the case in periods of deep crisis, luxury carmakers are faring the best: Porsche even posts and insolent 54% year-on-year gain at 1.095 sales thanks to the Macan, Lexus is up 19% thanks to the NX and jumps inside the Top 20 vs. #31 a year ago, Mercedes is up 9% to crack the Russian Top 10 at #9 compared to #16 last year and BMW is down just 3% to lift its market share from 1.4% to 2.2%.

Porsche Cayenne Macan Russia March 2015Porsche sales are up 54% year-on-year in Russia so far in 2015.

The big brand story in Russia over the period is however the stunning success of Nissan’s newly relaunched Datsun brand. Met with a lukewarm welcome in other parts of the world it was reintroduced (India, Indonesia and South Africa), Datsun is off to a tremendously successful start in the largest country in the world. Thanks to models tailored to this market and not sold anywhere else, Datsun is up to #12 over Q1 2015 with 9.339 sales, within throwing distance of Chevrolet (9.748) and Mitsubishi (9.793) meaning a FY2015 Top 10 ranking is absolutely feasible. The on-DO, a bardge-engineered Lada Granta, is already among Russia’s 10 most popular nameplates with 8.061 deliveries.

Lada Granta Russia March 2015The Lada Granta now accounts for 8% of Russia sales.

Speaking of which, despite being challenged by the Hyundai Solaris – #1 in January, the Lada Granta sees its market share fly up to 8% from 5.4% a year ago thanks to sales down just 5% over the period. The Hyundai Solaris (-2%) and Kia Rio (-12%) also see their market share improve drastically, resulting in a very clear consolidation atop the models charts: the Top 3 hold a 19.3% share in 2015 vs. 13.1% a year ago.

Lada 4x4 Russia March 2015Still valiant: the Lada 4×4 is up from #15 last year to #4 in 2015.

The Lada 4×4 is reborn from its ashes: tough times call for budget, sturdy SUVs, and its sales are astoundingly up 16%, jumping from #15 over Q1 2014 to #4 overall this year. This trend also applies to the UAZ Patriot, making a remarkable entrance inside the Top 25 and seeing its market share improve by 1/3. The Renault Logan benefits from the launch of the new generation and gains 6 spots year-on-year to land at #5, the Toyota Camry is up 12 ranks to #12, the Hyundai ix35 up 3 to #13 and the Skoda Rapid is the second all-new nameplate in the Top 20 with the on-DO at #17. The tail end of the Top 25 is SUV territory, with the Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai all improving their ranking year-on-year.

Previous post: Russia March 2015: Only SUV sales resist in market down 43%

Full Q1 2015 Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models vs. Full Q1 2014 figures below.

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Categories: Russia

Russia March 2015: Only SUV sales resist in market down 43%

April 11th, 2015 No comments

UAZ Patriot Russia March 2015UAZ Patriot sales are up 2% on March 2014.

* See the Top 25 best-selling models and Top 55 All-brands by clicking on the title *

The precarious state of the Russian new car market is reaching new lows in March: down 42.5% year-on-year to just 139,850 registrations, bringing the first quarter total to 383,691 units, down 36% on 2014. The  economic sanctions imposed on the country as a result of the Ukrainian crisis and a galloping inflation stuck at 17% both in February and March have combined to knock the market out of air. Faced with the prospect of losing money with each car sold in the country, a string of manufacturers are trimming their presence in Russia, some in very significant ways: Nissan (-51% in March) has suspended production in in St Petersburg plant for the entire second half of the month, Volkswagen (-57%) will do so for two weeks in May, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen (-79%) will halt the production of the Citroen C4 and Peugeot 408 from April 27 to July 7 and Mitsubishi (-68%) will stop production of the Outlander and Pajero Sport from April 27 to May 12.

Opel Russia March 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruSunset: General Motors will stop selling the Opel brand in Russia by the end of 2015.

Most significantly of all, General Motors announced it will abandon local production by the end of 2015, with the Opel brand (-78% in March) exiting Russia and Chevrolet (-74%) reducing its lineup to “iconic” U.S.-built models such as the Corvette, Camaro and Tahoe. Reversely, Ford (-73%) has reiterated its focus on Russia and just kick started the St Petersburg production of the all-new Mondeo, one of 4 new models to be launched in the country by the American manufacturer in 2015. In this nightmarish context, the top selling brands are also among the ones that resist the best, confirming a trend towards ‘back to basics’ and ‘back to trusted’ that we have observed over the past few months that the declines have deteriorated. Local fare Lada is down ‘only’ 26% to a very strong 19.6% share, Hyundai is down 15% to 9.9%, Kia down 32% to 8.7%, Toyota is up two ranks on February and down 34% year-on-year to #4.

Datsun mi-DO Russia March 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThanks to the arrival of the mi-DO, Datsun is now the #11 brand in Russia.

The list of manufacturers receiving good news in March in Russia is thin: Datsun reaches the best ranking since its reintroduction as a low-cost brand, up to #11 with 3,502 sales and 2.5% share thanks to the gearing up of the mi-DO hatchback (989 units) while the on-DO sedan is still very strong at #14 and 2,513 deliveries. Mercedes only drops 3% on March 2015, resulting in a much-improved market share of 2.9%, Lexus is up 29% to 2,521 sales and Porsche up 27% to 520. Over in the models ranking, the Lada Granta sends a strong message with sales down just 4% to 12,438 units and 8.9% share. Only the Hyundai Solaris (8,593) and Kia Rio (7,176) manage to sell more than 1/3 of the Granta figure – all other nameplates are under 3% market share this month…

Nissan X-Trail Russia March 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruThe Nissan X-Trail (+29%) replaces the Qashqai inside the Russian Top 25 in March.

Another very clear trend at play in Russia is the regain in interest towards SUVs: not all display good behaviour (the Renault Duster is down 58% for example), but the only non-new nameplates to lodge year-on-year gains in the Top 25 in March are all SUVs: the valiant Lada 4×4 (aka Niva) is up 6% to 5th place, the Nissan X-Trail is up 29% to #16 vs. #27 over FY2014 thanks to the new model, the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 makes a very impressive appearance at #21 thanks to sales up 9% on March 2014 and the UAZ Patriot is up 2% to #23.

Previous month: Russia February 2015: Market worsens down to -38%

One year ago: Russia March 2014: Mitsubishi Outlander breaks into Top 10

Full March 2015 Top 25 models and Top 55 All-brands below.

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Categories: Russia

Russia February 2015: Market worsens down to -38%

March 11th, 2015 No comments

Lada 4x4 Urban Russia February 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruBack to basics: the Lada 4×4 bucks the trend, up 20% year-on-year in February.

* See the Top 53 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

The Russian new car market situation is rapidly escalating to become catastrophic: -38% year-on-year in February to just 128,298 registrations which brings the year-to-date total to 243,826 units, down 32% on 2014. Russia is facing an unprecedented mix of economic sanctions due to the Ukrainian crisis, a 50% devaluation of the ruble against the dollar in the past 6 months and inflation rising from 9% in December 2014 to 17% in February 2015, with Moscow shopkeepers now repricing goods daily. Forecasts for the Russian market to drop 27% over the Full Year 2014 are now starting to appear a little optimistic. Manufacturers active in the country are starting to take drastic measures in accordance with the situation: for example Opel will idle its local factory for two months starting at the end of March.

Lada Largus Russia February 2015. Picture courtesy of zr.ruLada places 3 models inside its home Top 5 for the first time in two years.

Both the lower and the higher end of the market are benefitting from these troubled times: new car buyers are downgrading, and the wealthier end of the population is rushing to buy premium brands before prices increase further. Lastly and similarly to Western Europe, SUVs are less hit than other segments. More affordable, national manufacturer Lada is doing slightly better than the market at -24% to 23,629 sales in February. The Granta reclaims the top spot it had lost to the Hyundai Solaris in January thanks to 10,583 deliveries (-6%), the 4×4 (aka Niva) is up an impressive 20% to #4: Russian buyers are going back to basics and crown the 38 year-old vehicle as the best-selling SUV in the country this month, the Largus is back up 15 spots on January to #5 and the Priora is back up 9 to #8. This means there are 3 Ladas in the Top 5 for the first time in two years.

BMW X4 Russia February 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruBMW sales in Russia are up 57% on a year ago in February.

Korean carmakers Hyundai (-5%) and Kia (-6%), while in negative territory, frankly outperform the market in 2nd and 3rd place respectively with 10.3% and 9.8% share. The next four manufacturers implode: Nissan (-45%), Renault (-46%), Toyota (-40%) and Volkswagen (-49%) all fall faster than the market, but Skoda at #8 fares much better at -12%. Rounding up the Top 10 are two big surprises: not only are Mercedes and BMW not down year-on-year, they are significantly up: at +18% and +57% respectively despite 20% price hikes at the start of 2015. In fact Lexus (+11%) and Porsche (+119%) are the only two other manufacturers up inside the Top 40.

Datsun mi-DO Russia February 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruDatsun mi-DO

Out of the 6 brands launched in Russia over the past 12 months, once again Datsun is the only one really making a mark this month, although it is down two spots on January to #14 with 2,904 sales and 2.3% share, despite the arrival of the mi-DO hatchback (289 sales). The on-DO slips out of the Top 10, down 5 ranks to a still extremely impressive 13th place with 2,615 deliveries and 2% share. The next best-selling new coming brand is Chinese Brilliance at #40 and just 0.1% market share… Not good times to break ground in Russia at the moment, granted.

Hyundai ix35 Russia February 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruFirst Russian Top 10 ranking for the Hyundai ix35

In the models ranking, the Toyota Camry is up 3 spots on last month to reach #9, the Hyundai ix35 breaks into the Russian Top 10 for the very first time (previous best: #12 last June), and in a clear demonstration of the trend towards ever more SUVs on Russian roads, the last 5 spots of the Top 25 all belong to this segment: the Nissan Juke is up to #20 and earns a spot in the year-to-date Top 25, and is followed by the Nissan Qashqai, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and the Kia Sorento up 171% year-on-year to 1,329 sales.

Previous month: Russia January 2015: Hyundai Solaris hits #1 in market down 24%

One year ago: Russia February 2014: Renault Duster and Nissan Almera impress

Full February 2015 Top 53 All-brands and Top 25 models Ranking Tables below.

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Russia January 2015: Hyundai Solaris hits #1 in market down 24%

February 10th, 2015 No comments

Hyundai Solaris Russia January 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ru2nd shock in 3 months: the Hyundai Solaris is the best-selling car in Russia in January.

* See the Top 25 best-selling models and Top 53 All-brands by clicking on the title *

Russian customers ‘rushed’ to purchase 2014 models in December (+2%) to avoid the inflation-induced price increase in January. Result: the Russian market is down a very painful 24% year-on-year this month to just 115,390 registrations. And we have a 2nd shock in 3 months in the models ranking: last November, the Kia Rio made history by topping the sales charts, making it the first time since 1970 that a Lada was not in the monthly pole position at home in Russia. This month it’s the turn of the Hyundai Solaris thanks to sales up 18% in a market down 24% to 8,217 units for a 7.1% market share vs. 4.6% a year ago. The Solaris came very close to achieving this very feat in the past: it was 744 units away from the top spot in December 2011 and 700 sales off last November.

Datsun on-DO Russia November 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Datsun on-DO has cannibalised the Lada Granta off the #1 spot.

That the Lada Granta is beaten once can be a freak event. Twice in three months is looking like a pattern could be shaping, helped by a two coincidental elements. Firstly, the Solaris is enjoying the benefits of its first facelift since the nameplate launched in 2010. Secondly, the Lada Granta has been significantly cannibalised by its low(er)-cost rebadge and Togliatti assembly plant colleague the Datsun on-DO. After cracking the monthly Russian Top 10 for the first time in December, the on-DO is far from plateauing and up to an even more astounding 7th place in January with 2,933 sales and a record 2.5% market share, a 32% improvement on last month. The Renault Logan, albeit in extremely good shape thanks to the new generation at #4 and 2.9%, is now at arm’s length for the on-DO, singling Russia out as the most successful Datsun relaunch in the world so far, and by a country mile.

Kia Sorento Russia January 2015First ever Russian Top 25 ranking for the Kia Sorento…

Although these two elements have played a critical role in the arrival of the Hyundai Solaris atop the Russian sales charts this month, there is a longer term trend at play: reversely to Lada whose market share has been continually sinking at home in the past decade, Hyundai and Kia have built a reputation for reliable vehicles specifically adapted to Russian conditions. This from the ground up, banking on success in the countryside rather than the Western part of the country. I could see this clearly during my 2014 Trans-Siberian trip where both the Solaris and the Rio were regularly among the Top 3 best-sellers in absolutely every corner of the country, from Tatarstan to far-East Siberia and Lake Baïkal.

Nissan Sentra Russia December 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ru… and for the Nissan Sentra.

A particularly weak month brings lots of movement in the rest of the models ranking: the Nissan Almera is back up 7 spots on December to return to the #10 ranking it held a year ago in January 2014, the Renault Sandero is down 23% but up 10 ranks on last month to #11, the Toyota Camry up 38% to #12, Hyundai ix35 up 9 spots on December to #13, the Skoda Octavia up 17 to #33, Skoda Rapid up 16 to #34 and Mitsubishi ASX down 3 to #23. The Kia Sorento up a fantastic 426% on January 2014 thanks to the new model to #21 and the Nissan Sentra up 19 spots on December to #24 both break into the Russian monthly Top 25 for the very first time.

Mercedes C-Class Russia January 2015. Picture courtesy zr.ruMercedes sales are up 17% year-on-year to #10 overall.

Brand-wise, Lada at 15.2% (-26%) is now far from dominant at home with Hyundai up to 11.1% share thanks to sales up 15% and Kia up to 9.8% with deliveries up 1% year-on-year. Renault (-32%), Volkswagen (-28%) and Mitsubishi (-32%) plummet, but Skoda (+8%) and Mercedes (+17%) power through to #8 and #10 respectively. Solely thanks to the on-DO, Datsun is up to #12, selling more than marques like Mazda and Ford, and almost 3 times as much as Opel.

Previous post: Russia Full Year 2014: Now with Top 434 All-models ranking

Original FY2014 post: Russia Full Year 2014: Lada Granta survives foreign push

Previous month: Russia December 2014: Datsun on-DO breaks into Top 10

One year ago: Russia January 2014: Duster on podium, Nissan Almera #10

Full January 2015 Top 25 models and Top 53 All-brands below.

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Russia Full Year 2014: Now with Top 434 All-models ranking

January 21st, 2015 No comments

Nissan Terrano Russia 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Nissan Terrano (a rebadged Renault Duster) found 10,843 Russian buyers in 2014.

* See the Top 434 All-models by clicking on the title *

After going through the All-brands and Top 25 models rankings, it is now time to explore the Full Year 2014 Russian models sales charts in its entirety. Firstly this new ranking now includes LCVs with the GAZ Gazelle leading them all like in 2013 despite sales down 17% to #7 overall. Logically, the best performers just outside the familiar Annual Top 25 have pointed their bonnet in the monthly Top 25 at some stage this year: the VW Jetta is up 16% to #28 (peaking at #19 in December), the Opel Mokka up 67% to #30 (#23 in September), UAZ Patriot up 10% to #33 (#13 in October), the Skoda Rapid landing directly at #35 (#16 in July), Daewoo Gentra up 126% to #36 (#20 in January) and of course the Datsun on-DO at #51 but already cracking the Top 10 in December.

Toyota Highlander Russia 2014. Picture courtesy zr.ruToyota Highlander sales are up 87% year-on-year in Russia.

A few great success stories have however gone under the radar this year and that’s the benefit of now gaining a complete view of the market. Completely unaffected by the difficult economic situation in the country, a few large SUVs deliver some excellent results for the year, keeping in mind the market is down 10% year-on-year overall: the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado is up 20% to #37, the Toyota Highlander up 87% to #46, Mitsubishi Pajero up 25% to #70, Volvo XC60 up 29% to #79, Mercedes M-Class up 15% to #87, Mercedes GL-Class up 1% to #88, Jeep Grand Cherokee up 56% to #89, Range Rover Sport up 41% to #127 and least but not least the legendary Mercedes G-Class up 35% to #210.

Lifan X60 Russia 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Lifan X60 almost cracked the monthly Russian Top 25 in December.

But the two biggest surprises are the works of two smaller SUVs: the Nissan Terrano, a rebadged Renault Duster, launched in Russia in May and reached #33 overall in December thanks to 2,303 sales, finishing the year just outside the Top 50 at #53 with 10,842 units. The Lifan X60 for its part becomes the best-selling Chinese nameplate in Russia at #38 thanks to sales up 8% to 17,007 and surged to #26 ex-LCV in December at 2,927 units. It thus just missed a historical event as wee haven’t seen a Chinese nameplate inside the Russian Top 25 since the Chery Amulet in July 2007.

Chery Tiggo 5 Russia 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Chery Tiggo 5 is one of 6 Chinese nameplates in the Russian Top 100 in December.

Other Chinese models shining in Russia this year include the Chery Tiggo FL is up 160% to #56, the Great Wall Wingle up 49% to #206 and the Great Wall Hover H6 up 465% to #212. A few new arrivals are promising for 2015: the Geely Emgrand X7 lands at #116 but ranked #75 in December, the Chery Tiggo 5 arrives at #179 but up to #86 in December, the Geely GC6 at #152 in the Full Year but #88 in December and the Chery Bonus 3 at #224 in 2014 but #130 in December. The rest all plunge: the Great Wall Hover H3/H5 (-36%), Lifan Smily (-36%), Chery Indis (-43%), Geely Emgrand (-46%), Lifan Solano (-57%), Chery Very (-59%), Geely MK (-64%) and Geely MK Cross (-66%)…

Nissan Sentra Russia December 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Nissan Sentra lands at #151 this year but is already up to #44 in December.

A few other good behaviours in the overall ranking to notice: the Ford Kuga up 31% to #40, Kia new Cerato up 58% to #47, Nissan Teana up 72% to #58, Mercedes Sprinter up a mammoth 170% to #61, the Audi A3 up 43% thanks to the sedan version to crack the Top 100 at #98 and the Mercedes S-Class up a gigantic 163% thanks to the new generation to #113 and 4,331 sales.

Ford Ecosport Russia 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruA much needed addition to the Ford Russia range: the Ecosport, #62 in December.

Below the Skoda Rapid (#35), Datsun on-DO (#51) and Nissan Terrano (#53) and apart from the Chinese models mentioned above, the other successful new entrants in the Russian market in 2014 are the Suzuki new SX4 at #86, Kia new Soul at #106, Mercedes GLA at #131, Ford Ecosport at #149 but #62 in December, Nissan Sentra at #151 but up to an excellent #44 in December and the Hyundai Grand Santa Fe at #163. The Peugeot 2008 (#176), Porsche Macan (#185) and Lexus NX (#254) are surprisingly weak.

Previous post: Russia Full Year 2014: Lada Granta survives foreign push

Previous monthly post: Russia December 2014: Datsun on-DO breaks into Top 10

Previous year: Russia Full Year 2013: Lada Granta celebrates first year at #1

Two years ago: Russia Full Year 2012: Lada Priora #1, Granta 4,800 sales below

Full Year 2014 Top 434 All-models vs. Full 2013 figures below.

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Categories: Russia