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Imported Car Sales On the Increase in Russia

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) Sales of cars imported into Russia more than doubled in the past year, as more of the country’s burgeoning middle class switch to non-domestic makes.

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The sale of cars imported into Russia is expected to continue to boom in Russia over the next few years, although the market share of used foreign models is expected to decline steadily.

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The popularity the foreign makes, led by Hyundais, Chevrolets and Toyotas, is believed to have been a key factor behind the increase of foreign car sales to almost 600,000. Rising disposable incomes and zero import duty on car components, is also encouraging the large car producers to build assembly plants in Russia.

Figures produced by Russia’s largest car importer Rolf suggest sales of new foreign cars, both imported and assembled in Russia, will grow 47% year-on-year in 2006 to 840,000 vehicles, or $20 billion, and will soar to 1.5 million vehicles by 2010.

In 2005, around 570,000 new foreign cars were sold in Russia for around $14.7 billion, up from 355,000 units, or $9.3 billion in 2004, according to Rolf’s estimates. The data excludes the Chevy Niva model, assembled under a joint venture between Russia’s Avtovaz and General Motors at a plant in Russia.

Car manufacturers such as Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG are already known to have established assembly plants on Russian soil. Toyota Motor Corp., Renault SA, Volkswagen AG, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and China’s Great Wall Motor Co. are believed to be planning to assemble cars in Russia.

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