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Russia 1st Quarter 2015: Datsun oblivious to devastated market

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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