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Russia May 2016: Skoda and Ford escape overall gloom

Skoda Superb Russia May 2016. Picture courtesy zr.ruBoth Skoda and Ford go against the grain in Russia in May, posting significant gains. 

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

Russian new car sales are turning out to be a bottomless pit: down 15% year-on-year both in May to 107.665 units and year-to-date to 548.119. Sign of a consolidation of the market towards “trusted marques”, five of the Top 6 carmakers in May outperform the market and improve their share, starting with leader Lada down 10% to 20.597 units and 19.1%. The Granta manages to top the models ranking for the second month in a row (7.967), distancing the Hyundai Solaris (7.627) and Kia Rio (7.569) but remaining at #2 year-to-date. The Vesta may have plateaued already as it drops 22% on April to 3.752 units and 3.5% vs. 4% last month, but squeezes past the VW Polo to now rank #5 year-to-date. Similarly, the XRAY is down 26% on April to drop to #16. The Largus (-19%), 4×4 (-37%) and Kalina (-80%) all suffer greatly, while the Priora (-54%) falls out of the Top 25 for the very first time in its 12 yea-career: the nameplate launched in 2004 and topped the annual rankings in 2009 and 2012.

Nissan Terrano Russia May 2016Nissan Terrano sales are up 85% in May but Nissan is down 31%.  

Kia (-3%) is back above sister brand Hyundai to rank #2 brand with 11.997 sales and 11.1% share with the Rio continuing to do wonders at +1% in third place and despite the precipitous drops of the Sportage (-34%) and Cee’d (-19%). Hyundai for its part suffers at -22% with its poster child the Solaris down 28% but the Tucson posting a second consecutive month inside the Top 25 at #22. Renault limits its drop to -5% thanks to the never-ending success of the Duster, up another 21% in May to 4.151 units, the resistance of the Sandero (-3%) and despite the fall of the Logan (-29%). Toyota (-9%) also gains share while Volkswagen sees its deliveries actually gain 0.3% vs. May 2015. Add to this a 48% surge by its VW Vans division and you get a (rare) sunny picture for the German carmaker. Nissan (-31%) cannot compensate the freefall of the X-Trail (-58%) and Almera (-37%) with the excellent performances of the Qashqai (+24%) and Terrano (+85%), stepping inside the Top 25 for only the second time ever after April 2015.

Skoda Rapid Russia May 2016. Picture courtesy arenda-car.ruThe Skoda Rapid breaks into the Russian Top 10 for the first time in May. 

Skoda (+24%) and Ford (+26%) are the success stories of the month in Russia. The Czech brand manages to improve its market share by 47% on May 2015 to 4.4% thanks to the success of its sedan and despite the absence of competitive SUV. Two years after its initial launch, the Skoda Rapid enters the Russian Top 10 for the first time at #9 thanks to sales up 27% to 2.393, while the Octavia gains even more ground at +30% to rank #15 with 1.797 deliveries. Even though Ford doesn’t place any nameplate inside the Top 25 in May (the Focus was #23 in April), its success also stems from the successful launches of the Fiesta and Mondeo and a strong SUV lineup (Kuga, Ecosport and Explorer). Ford reaps the benefits of not having given up on Russia unlike General Motors who discontinued its mainstream Chevrolet models and the entire Opel brand last year. The only survivor is the Russian-born Niva, doing extremely well this month at +22% to #11.

Lifan X60 Russia May 2016. Picture courtesy zr.uLifan Russian sales are up 88% in May. 

Outside the Top 10, a dozen brands gain volume on May 2015, indicating the market may be on the verge of bottoming out and may soon get pulled by these high-achievers. Further good news: the list is varied and doesn’t limit itself to SUV specialist and premium fares as it is traditionally the case in crisis times. Lexus leads the pack with deliveries up a fantastic 34% to 2.212 while BMW is up 5% to 2.200. Volvo gains 13% on the back of the new XC90 (inside the Top 100 last month) and Jaguar is up 97% thanks to the XE. Among mass brands, Mazda gains 8% and Subaru is up 26%. Finally, one of the most striking evolutions in May is delivered by Chinese carmaker Lifan, embattled at home but up 88% in Russia to outsell almost 3-to-1 its direct Chinese follower Chery (+3%).

Previous post: Russia April 2016: Discover the Top 275 All-models (BSCB Exclusive)

Previous month: Russia April 2016: Vesta and XRAY push Lada to best share in 4.5 years

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

Full May 2016 Top 25 models and Top 53 All-brands below.

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