* See the Top 25 models and Top 50 All-brands by clicking on the title *
Partly due to an already very low base a year ago, Russian new car sales are down ‘just’ 13% year-on-year in February to 111.145 registrations, its smallest decline in 14 months. This brings the year-to-date total to 193.072 units, down 21% on the same period in 2015. Local manufacturer Lada continues to lose share at -19% to 19.035 sales and 17.1% whereas Kia gains some at -9% and 11.492 units above Hyundai, down 21% at 10.510. Renault (-3%), Toyota (+11%), Volkswagen (-7%), Ford up a spectacular 144%, GAZ (+10%) and UAZ (+37%) are the other Top 15 manufacturers improving their market share this month. Further down, Lexus (+83%), Lifan (+45%), Suzuki (+48%) and Chery (+10%) impress.
The models ranking has now entered the murky waters we predicted at the end of last year: the “transition” between Lada Granta and Vesta. The inverted commas are mandatory here, because the Vesta does not replace the Granta in the Lada range, but the Priora. Rather, Lada is hoping the much more modern (and expensive/profitable) Vesta will replace the much cheaper Granta in the hearts of Russian consumers. A hard task given the Vesta is priced at double the Granta: from 570k Rubles / US$8.050 vs. 312k Rub ($4.400) for the Granta… A logical result of the Vesta launch, which will soon be followed by the small crossover X-RAY, is that it vacuums the entire marketing attention of the brand: as the Vesta continues to progress (#7 and 2.955 sales this month), the Granta drops 40% year-on-year to just 6.335 units, its lowest monthly result in almost four years.
Add to this the continuously stupefying health of the two Korean compact sedans: the Hyundai Solaris (+2%) and Kia Rio (+16%) managing to gain volume year-on-year in this depressed context, and we have a first this month in Russia. At 13.756 units vs. 13.712 for the Lada Granta, the Hyundai Solaris takes the year-to-date lead in the country for the first time. In fact, it is the first time a foreign model (although manufactured locally) is #1 in a YTD Russian ranking since the Lada brand was created in 1970. Given the relative popularity of the Moskvitch brand from 1947 onwards, this could be the first time since World War II that a foreign nameplate tops the YTD Russian sales charts. No less. It is the 8th time the Solaris ranks #1 monthly (all in the past 14 months) and the 6th time in the past 8 months. A logical crowing then, that could transformed into a historical annual top spot easier than previously though if the Granta really suffers from the arrival of the Vesta as this month’s data seems to indicate.
In fact, the Lada Granta (-40%), 4×4 (-29%) and Largus (-31%) are the only three nameplates in the Top 11 to lose ground on their February 2015 score, with all the other posting year-on-year gains: the Renault Duster flies up 42% to #4, the VW Polo is up 24% to #5, the Toyota RAV4 up 122% to #6 and the Chevrolet Niva and Renault Sandero are both up a much more modest 1%. Notice also the Nissan X-Trail up 237% on the previous gen at #16, the UAZ Patriot up 59% to #22, Toyota Land Cruiser 200 up 257% and the Mitsubishi Outlander up 133%. Once again, only the SUV segment sees spectacular year-on-year gains.
Previous month: Russia January 2016: Market down 29%, Lada Vesta in Top 10
One year ago: Russia February 2015: Market worsens down to -38%
Full February 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 25 models below.