Chinese cars are becoming increasingly popular in the Russian market following the exodus of major car companies. In 2022 alone, 487 new Chinese vehicle dealerships were opened in Russia, bringing the total number to 1,041, accounting for almost one-third of the total number of Russian car dealers.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, numerous international car brands (including Western & Japanese origin) left Russia, and by the end of 2022, 46 out of 60 car brands had withdrawn from the Russian market. This in turn created a huge opportunity for Chinese cars in the Russian market. It is estimated that about 100 Chinese auto brands may enter the Russian market in 2023.
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In 2022, according to the stats, around 122,000 Chinese cars were sold in Russia, which is an increase of 13% year-on-year. Furthermore, the market share of Chinese cars in the Russian market rose to 20% by end of last year.
According to a survey conducted by Autostat, a Russian auto market analysis agency: In January 2023, Russian consumer spending on Chinese branded cars has tripled compared to the same period in 2022 with 17,200 Chinese cars purchased, spending more than 50 billion rubles (665 million USD). In January 2023, the market shares of European, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and American cars were 16%, 15%, 11%, 10%, and 2.5%.
Chinese car companies first entered Russia as early as 2004. That year, only 150 Chinese cars were sold in the Russian market. It wasn’t until 2013 that the annual sales volume exceeded 100,000 vehicles with the largest Chinese players being Chery, Great Wall Motors (GWM), and Geely. This was due to fierce competition from very cheap Russian local brands, which focus on low-end products. Secondly, the European, American, Japanese, and South Korean brands were the first major players to enter Russia, focusing on mid-to-high-end products.
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Currently, Chery sells cars under 3 brand names in the Russian market, namely: Chery, Exeed, and Omoda. In 2022, the sales volume of these three brands stood at 38,000, 13,000, and 1,521 units respectively. GWM also invested heavily in Russia a few years ago. The newly built Tula factory cost 500 million USD and was completed in 2019. It was the first wholly-owned manufacturing factory of a Chinese brand overseas. In 2022, GWM sold a total of 35,000 vehicles in Russia, ranking second among the Chinese brands, and Geely came in third with 24,000 units sold.
Analysts predict Chinese auto brands could account for around 35% of sales in Russia by the end of 2023 (from 20% in 2022). Russia is now the 6th-largest export destination for Chinese automotive products, which includes vehicles and parts, according to China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com