(Yicai Global) Jan. 11 -- Chinese auto brands are becoming more popular in Russia, and are on track to set new records for sales and market share last year, Yicai Global learned from industry insiders.
Chinese carmakers sold 103,000 vehicles in Russia in the first 11 months of last year, up 1.1 times from a year ago and a new high, according to the Association of European Businesses in Russia. The share of Chinese brands in the Russian car market is also expected to rise to a record 7.5 percent last year, twice as much as in 2020.
“The biggest change in the Russian car market in recent years is that consumers’ perception of Chinese brands has fundamentally changed and is much more positive than it was five years ago,” Sergey Burgazliev, a senior analyst of the Russian auto industry, told Yicai Global. “This is the reason why Chinese brands have been able to succeed in recent years.”
Chery Automobile is the most popular Chinese car brand in Russia, ranking tenth overall, and from January to November last year shifted 37,000 units, according to data from AEB. Great Wall Motor’s Haval brand ranked 12th with sales of 31,000 vehicles and Geely Automobile Holdings came 14th with 22,000 deliveries.
“Their strategy is clear,” Burgazliev said. “Haval has invested about USD500 million to produce locally. The Beijing-based marque also has a good dealer network in Russia. The future is bright.”
Geely, meanwhile, has set up a joint venture in neighboring Belarus to mainly target the Russian market, and although Chery’s vehicles are all imported, the Wuhu, eastern Anhui province-based automaker is also looking at setting up a local plant, he said.
As they become more popular, Chinese brands can demand a higher price. In the past it was difficult to sell autos that cost more than CNY100,000 (USD15,694) in Russia, a senior executive at a Chinese car company told Yicai Global. But last year, the average price of a Chinese car there was CNY150,000 (USD23,546), which was completely unimaginable before, he added.
Chinese carmakers’ main competition used to be a Russian low-end brand called Lada, the person said. But more recently Korean cars have become their main rivals. Competitors’ supply problems and big price hikes also have given Chinese brands the opportunity to seize more market share, he added.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Kim Taylor