New passenger cars and light commercial vehicle (LVCs) sales in Russia jumped by 120% year on year in September 2023 to 116,234 units, according to AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee data. In the first 9 months of this calendar year, total sales were up by 43% year on year to 0.76 million vehicles.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the domestic production of cars almost completely ceased in the following months as the sector ground to a screeching halt. Car sales in Russia collapsed by 58.8% YoY in 2022 to just 687,370 units and were only expected to recover to pre-war levels in 2027.
However, thanks to the influx of Chinese automakers which now account for nearly 40% of new car sales in Russia, the rapid uptick will bring the sales in the Russian market to pre-war levels sooner than expected, and may even go beyond that. Commenting on this, AEB head Alexey Kalitsev said:
“Over 9 months of this year , we have observed a steady growth trend in the new car sales market, which indicates its high potential and gradual recovery despite rising prices and serious volatility in the ruble exchange rate.”
Lada, which is owned by Russia’s domestic carmaker Avtovaz tops the chart with a 32% market share as of the first 9 months of 2023, however, the rest of the top five most sold models in Russia were Chinese, with Chery, GMW (Haval) and Geely having 19%, 10%, and 8% market shares, respectively. Notably, the Chinese models posted 260% – 300% gains in YoY sales in 9M23.
Major international automakers including Western, Japanese, and Korean brands quit the Russian market after the war with Ukraine started in early 2022 leaving the playfield open for the Chinese automakers. Since then, the Russian government has acquired assets from companies such as Renault, Nissan, and Toyota, for pennies on the dollar, literally. The Chinese seized this opportunity, and as a result, Russia is now China’s #1 export destination.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com