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Russia Full Year 2018: Lada at highest since 2011, reclaims models top spot with Vesta’s first win

First ever annual win at home for the Lada Vesta.

Consult 50 years of Russian Historical Data here.

This article has been updated with the Top 330 All-models ranking.

The Russian new car market confirms it is on the mend with a second consecutive year of double-digit gains at +12.8% in 2018 to 1.800.591 registrations, the highest annual score since 2014 (2.491.404). Local behemoth Lada (+15.6%) manages to slightly outpace its home market to reach a round 20% share over the Full Year, its highest level since 2011 (21.8%) after hitting an all-time low of 15.5% in 2014. 2nd-placed Kia (+25.1%) does a lot better though, reaching an all-time high 12.6% share for the year. In third place, Hyundai (+12.9%) matches the market to remain at 9.9% share whereas Renault (+0.3%) underperforms and loses one percentage point of share to 7.6% due notably to the delay in launching the new generation Duster, its best-seller in Russia.

Kia is up 25.1% to reach a record 12.6% share, thanks partly to the Sportage.

In the remainder of the Top 10, Skoda (+30.7%), Volkswagen (+18.5%) and Toyota (+15.1%) all brilliantly beat the market whereas GAZ (+3.5%), Ford (+5.7%) and Nissan (+6.5%) do not. Further down, Mitsubishi (+86.6%) is the standout, gaining 6 spots to end the year just outside the Top 10 at #11, with Honda (+110%), Genesis (+77.6%), Mini (+47.5%), Jeep (+39.2%), Subaru (+32.1%), Mazda (+22.3%), Suzuki (+20.3%) and BMW (+18.7%) being among isolated greats in a surprisingly under-performing field. Overall, Chinese carmakers (+11.3%) trail the market and remain at 2% share due to the decline of its two best-sellers Lifan (-11%) and Chery (-5%) but some recent newcomers continue to soar, these are Zotye (+191.8%), FAW (+156.2%), Haval (+69.6%), Dongfeng (+58.3%), HTM (+54.8%) as well as veteran Geely (+50%) getting a second wind.

The Hyundai Creta continues to dominate the Russian SUV category. 

After foreign nameplates historically ended a seemingly unstoppable 45 years of Lada domination over the past two years with the Hyundai Solaris becoming Russia’s best-seller in 2016 and the Kia Rio topping the annual 2017 charts, Lada has reclaimed the model top spot for the first time since 2015 with the Lada Vesta (+40.2%) posting its first ever annual win at 6% share. Lada even manages a 1-2 (its first since 2012) with the Granta (+13.5%) pushed up by its facelift and remaining at #2. Last year’s leader, the Kia Rio (+3.6%) is knocked down to #3. The Vesta topped the monthly charts 5 times this year, including its very first in January, vs. 4 times for the Rio and 3 times for the Granta. The Hyundai Creta (+22.2%) cements its status as Russia’s favourite SUV, overtaking its factory stablemate the Hyundai Solaris (-4.4%) for 4th place overall and celebrating 29 consecutive months as the #1 SUV in Russia – straight from its August 2016 launch and never beaten since.

Not out yet: the 40 year-old Lada 4×4 is up to #13 this year.

The Lada Largus (+31.2%), VW Polo (+22.2%) and Skoda Rapid (+19.2%) also post very satisfying gains further down the Top 10. While there are only 3 SUVs in this year’s Top 10, this figure escalates to 11 out of 15 in the remainder of the Top 25, bringing the SUV total to 14, up on the previous record of 12 last year. The Hyundai Tucson (+91.7%) and Mitsubishi Outlander (+45.7%) are the most dynamic and newcomers in the Top 25, with the Kia Sportage (+32.7%), VW Tiguan (+21.2%) and Mazda CX-5 (+20.7%) also strong and the valiant 40 year-old Lada 4×4 (+13.3%) manages to outpace the market and gain 3 spots on 2017 to rank #13 overall, overtaking the Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Niva, Renault Kaptur and Sandero.

Kia Cerato sales leap up 63.5% in 2018. Picture

Just outside the familiar Top 25, we discover Kia on fire with the Cerato (+63.5%), Optima (+62.5%), Soul (+59.8%) Sorento (+52.8%) and Cee’d (+35.8%) all posting outstanding gains within the Top 50. In the remainder of the Top 100, the Renault Dokker (+3517.6%), Skoda Kodiaq (+678.2%), UAZ Profi (+443.7%), Lifan Myway (+346.1%) and Zotye T600 (+178.7%) see their volume shoot up for their first full year in market, while the Mitsubishi ASX (+403.7%), Hyundai Sonata (+330.4%), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (+103.6%), Mitsubishi L200 (+84.4%), BMW X3 (+77.8%) and Ford Explorer (+50.7%) score the largest gains among the rest.

The Lifan Myway could become the best-selling Chinese nameplate in Russia in 2019. Picture

21 new nameplates point their bonnet into the Russian charts this year, the most popular being the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (#90), Geely Atlas (#97) and Lifan X70 (#108), followed by the Kia Stinger (#115), VW Teramont (#124), Toyota C-HR (#137), Volvo XC40 (#160), Jaguar E-Pace (#161), BMW X2 (#164) and Genesis G70 (#172) making it into the Top 200. Looking at the best-selling Chinese nameplates, the Lifan X60 (#73) is still tops despite losing almost half of its 2017 volume but it is now threatened for supremacy by the Lifan Myway (#82) up 74 spots on 2017 for its first full year in Russia. The Chery Tiggo 3 (#87), Zotye T600 (#89), Lifan X50 (#95), Geely Atlas (#97) and Lifan Solano (#100) also make it to the Top 100.

Previous month: Russia November 2018: Lada Granta (+78%) rallies back to #1 thanks to facelift, teases Vesta YTD

Previous year: Russia 2017: Kia Rio 2nd foreign model #1 in 47 years, market up 11.9%

Two years ago: Russia 2016: Hyundai Solaris ends 45 years of Lada domination

Full Year 2018 Top 55 All-brands and Top 330 All-models vs. Full Year 2017 figures below.

Full December 2018 Top 53 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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