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Russia March 2020: Skoda (+41.7%), Toyota (+36.5%) help lift market up 4%

Skoda sales in Russia soar 41.7% in March.

Anticipating a significant price increase due to a weakened currency, Russian buyers somewhat “stockpiled” on new cars in March with sales up 4% year-on-year to 162.321 units, only the 4th positive month in the past year. As a result the Q1 volume tilts back into positive at +1.8% to 398.518 registrations. If March data remains unscathed by COVID-19, April will be radically different. Indeed after President Putin announced a nationwide paid holiday week on March 25, from March 30 onwards most regions declared strict lockdowns and on April 2 Putin prolonged the non-working time until 30 April. These late measures may have allowed the pandemic to flare up over the past week, going from 2.337 confirmed cases as of 31/03 to 8.672 as of 8/04, with double-digit daily increases every day for the past 24 days placing Russia’s infections among the fastest-growing in the world. With April business activity brought to a halt, the Russian new car market is now headed towards at least a Quarter of drastically reduced sales.

Russian regions in lockdown as of April 3.

Homegrown brand leader Lada (-3%) hasn’t taken up the market’s dynamism but remains above the symbolic 20% share barrier at 20.2%, keeping Kia (+1.3%), Hyundai (-3.1%) and Renault (+4.5%) at a safe distance. Just below, Skoda (+41.7%), Toyota (+36.5%) and Volkswagen (+17.3%) all manage splendid year-on-year surges, rounding out the Top 7 in fantastic fashion. Mercedes (+32.7%) also impresses and is back inside the Top 10 just as Nissan (-7.1%) and GAZ (-5.4%) disappoint. Beyond the Top 10, Audi (+37.3%), Lexus (+30.2%) and Mazda (+29.2%) also rack up stunning growth but again Chinese carmakers Haval (+186.6%) and Geely (+45.4%) are the most dynamic and both slide inside the Top 20. Further down, Changan (+461.8%), Cadillac (+129.1%), Chery (+88.7%), Porsche (+75.3%), Subaru (+58.6%), Honda (+57.4%) and Peugeot (+31.1%) post the most spectacular upticks among brands holding 0.5% share or less.

Haval continues to surge ahead: +186.6% in March.

The Lada Granta (+11.6%) celebrates 12 consecutive monthly pole positions with a third double-digit year-on-year gain in the past 4 months. The Lada Vesta (-13.1%) reclaims the #2 spot it holds YTD, discarding the Kia Rio (-7.3%). Unshakeable at #4, the Hyundai Creta aligns a 44th straight month as Russia’s favourite SUV, a title it has held ever since its launch in August 2016… Below a VW Polo (+25.4%) in outstanding shape, the Toyota RAV4 (+102.9%) once again more than doubles its year-ago volume and is the #2 SUV in the country for the 4th month in a row. The Mazda CX-5 (+46.4%), Skoda Octavia (+42.1%), Kodiaq (+36.1%), VW Tiguan (+14.4%), Nissan Qashqai (+13.5%) and Hyundai Tucson (+10.5%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 25.

Previous month: Russia February 2020: Renault (+19.1%), Toyota (+16.6%), Haval (+127.2%) brave frozen conditions (-2.2%)

One year ago: Russia March 2019: Lada Vesta reclaims #1 spot, break records in market back up (+1.8%)

Full March 2020 Top 53 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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