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USSR/Russia: 1970-2023 detailed Historical Data now available

The Lada 2101-2103 was the dominant force in the USSR in the seventies.

The direct links to 31 USSR/Russia Historical posts are below.

24/06/2019 update: Monthly All-brands rankings are now available without interruption from January 2008 onwards.

The start of a big scale overhaul of BSCB’s Historical Data, sales figures for the USSR and Russia have been updated with sales info kick-starting in 1970, Top 10 models for 1987 and 1988, imports data by model starting as early as 1996, detailed annual brands and models data from 1999 onwards and monthly Top 25 models from January 2008 up to the present day without interruption. Witness the birth of Lada with the 2101 launched in 1970, a localised version of the Fiat 124 that would survive under different body shapes and modernised designs until 2012. In the late eighties, the Lada 2106 fights it out with the Moskvich 2140 for the title of best-seller in the USSR.

The Lada 2104-2107, or Riva, was #1 in Russia throughout the 80s, 90s, 00s and in 2010.

Then, throughout the tumultuous fragmentation of the USSR in the nineties and from 1999 to 2008, the same valiant Lada, grouped under the Riva nameplate, would top the sales charts, albeit threatened by the Lada Samara in 2004, 2005 and 2008. It would manage a last pole position in 2010, a year when volumes were boosted by aggressive scrappage schemes to try and revive a market hit full frontal by the Global Financial Crisis (-49% in 2009). Then the Lada “Zhiguli” as it is fondly called at home, would finally pass the relay to the new Lada Granta in 2012.

The Lada 2110 never topped annual Russian sales, despite leading for the most part of 2003.

A handful of other Ladas have managed to challenge the Riva supremacy to score sporadic wins over its last decade of life, such as the Lada Priora, best-seller in 2009 and 2012 and the Lada Kalina, most popular in 2011. Then it’s the turn of the Riva’s successor, the Lada Granta, to become the favourite of the Russian people in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2020 while the Lada Vesta topped the charts in 2018 and 2021. Strikingly, the Lada 2110 never managed an annual win even though it led the YTD order deep into 2003. Finally, it is entirely possible that the Lada Samara may have snapped a handful of annual wins between its launch in 1989 and 1998, however detailed models data is missing for this period.

The Ford Focus was the first foreign nameplate to rank #1 monthly in Russia – in December 2008.

The start of the 21st century is a fascinating period to follow in Russia: it is a time when foreign manufacturers have started penetrating the market. Originally allowed on March 16, 1988, car imports remain anecdotal for an entire decade, reaching only 17.000 in 1995 and 45.000 in 1999. Little would anyone know then that they would end up surging to over 2 million annual units in less than 10 years, helped by the implantation of a dozen foreign carmakers starting to produce locally. Foreigner share starts at 4.8% in 2000, 6.8% in 2001 (+51%), 9.8% in 2002 (+40%), 17.8% in 2003 (+97%), 28% in 2004 (+87%), 38%  in 2005 (+51%) with the first foreign marque on the podium (Hyundai), 46.6% in 2006 and 71.4% in 2008 at a whopping 2.068.000 sales… That year in December, the Ford Focus was the first foreign nameplate to top the monthly Russian charts.

The Renault Logan was the #1 foreigner in Russia in 2009.The Hyundai Solaris was the first foreign nameplate to end the year at #1 in Russia – in 2016.

We would have to wait 6 years and November 2014 to see this happen again when the the Kia Rio took the lead of the monthly charts, but this time it wasn’t a freak event and the culmination of years of steady progression and spreading popularity in the rural areas of the country alongside the Hyundai Solaris that would find a fitting conclusion in 2016 when the Hyundai Solaris became the first foreign nameplate in at least 45 years – and possibly in Russian history – to top the annual sales charts, replaced in 2017 by the Kia Rio.

In 2005, Great Wall was the first Chinese manufacturer to enter Russia.

Chinese carmakers entered the Russian market with a bang in 2005 with Great Wall instantly selling over 4.000 units of its Deer SUV and Sailor pickup, but it has been a stop-start rollercoaster ever since. Chery followed in 2006 with the Amulet, soaring to 39.000 sales and 1.7% at an estimated 16th place in 2007, but then crashing to less than 16.000 sales in 2008 and less than 5.000 in 2009. It rallied back up to #13 in 2021 and to #6 in 2022. There are a few additional Chinese marques that have also managed success in Russia: Lifan, launched in 2008, was in the Top 20 in 20162017 and 2018. Haval, launched in 2017, was #20 in 2019, #16 in 2020 and #12 in 2021, and #8 in 2022. Geely ranked #17 in 2020 and 2021 and #9 in 2022. 2023 marked an explosion in Chinese car sales, with Chery, Haval, Geely, Changan, Exeed and Omoda all fitting inside the Top 7 and smashing their records.

USSR/Russia Historical Info:

USSR 1970-1979: Lada 2101-3 conquers the Soviet roads

USSR 1980-1986: Lada 2106 and Moskvich 2140 likely leaders

USSR 1987: Lada 2106 and Moskvich 2140 fight it off

USSR 1988: Lada 2106 leads, Samara on podium

USSR 1989-1991: VAZ (Lada) and Izh most popular brands

Russia 1992-1995: Lada Riva and Samara should dominate

Russia 1996-1998: Lada Riva, Samara and 2110 likely on top (including imports info)

Russia 1999: Russian carmakers hold 94% share, Lada at 62.8%, Riva #1

Russia 2000: Riva, Samara, 2110: podium 100% Lada, IZH up 83% to #4

Russia 2001: Lada up to 67.3%, Riva, Samara and 2110 on top, Moskvich out

Russia 2002: Lada Riva, Samara and 2110 on top, foreigners above 100.000 units

Russia 2003: Lada Riva #1, foreigners up 97% to 17.8% share, led by Toyota

Russia 2004: Lada Riva resists Samara assault, foreigners up 87% to 28% share

Russia 2005: Lada Riva edges past Samara, foreigners up 51% to 38% share, Great Wall in

Russia 2006: Lada Riva #1, foreigners up to 46.6% share, led by Ford Focus

Russia 2007: Market above 2 million units for the first time, Chery up to 1.7% share

Russia 2008: Lada Riva only 735 sales above Samara, Ford Focus #1 in December

Russia 2009: Lada Priora ends decades-long Riva reign, market down 49%

Russia 2010: 30 year-old Lada 2105/7 (Riva) reclaims #1 spot

Russia 2011: Lada Kalina leads for the first time

Russia 2012: Lada Priora #1, Granta 4,800 sales below in record year

Russia 2013: Lada Granta celebrates first year at #1

Russia 2014: Lada Granta survives foreign push

Russia 2015: Hyundai Solaris teases Lada Granta in market down 36%

Russia 2016: Hyundai Solaris ends 45 years of Lada domination

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

Russia 2017: Now with Top 365 All-models

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

Russia 2019: Lada Granta claims first win since 2015 in plateauing market (-2.3%)

Russia 2020: Lada Granta repeats at #1, Chinese brands up 41.3% in market down -9.1%

Russia 2021: Lada Vesta reclaims top spot, Chinese up 102.3%, market up 4.3%

Russia 2022: Market collapses -58.8%, Russian and Chinese carmakers stronger

Russia 2023: Chinese brands at 47% share

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