Lada with Japanese DNA
From "penny" to "Grants": best-sellers of the Russian car market
The positions of Lada Granta, which almost immediately since entering the market became the best-selling model in Russia, have recently been somewhat shaken. Only since November last year, when for the first time in the history of the Russian car market, a foreign car became the bestseller of the month (this honorable fate, we recall, fell to Kia Rio), the AvtoVAZ budget employee already three times lost the top line of the car hit parade, including Hyundai Solaris. Against the background of a general drop in demand for cars in Russia, Lada Granta sales partially “crippled” the appearance on the market of the new Datsun on-DO sedan, which is built on the Granta / Kalina VAZ platform and is produced on the same conveyor. So, for five months of 2015, the sales of on-DO sedans amounted to about 12 thousand cars, according to the Association of European Businesses. Lada Granta for the same period sold in the amount of 49.5 thousand copies (including liftbacks) against 58.5 thousand cars a year earlier.
“The Lada brand already has an established audience and regular customers, partly these people can now change their cars to Datsun, ” said Alexander Zinoviev, Sales Director of Premium and ELA Divisions, AvtoSpetsTsentr Group. According to him, the advisability of producing Datsun models is to give the consumer a high-quality and, most importantly, affordable car that can compete with brands in the low price range.
Meanwhile, the hatchback Datsun mi-DO is gaining popularity, which went on sale in February this year and as of the end of May found about 3.3 thousand buyers. This model, as you know, is the "twin" of the hatchback Lada Kalina.
Despite the common platform with Lada cars, Datsun has a completely different positioning, according to the Datsun press service. “Datsun cars, the design of which was developed by an international team of designers, differ significantly from Lada models both in terms of driving performance and the level of equipment and comfort. Datsun cars have rich equipment, even in the starting configuration, - noted in the Japanese company. “We have entered a fairly large segment, which occupies up to 30% of the Russian automobile market and expect to occupy high positions in it.”
And the key to the success of their cars on the Russian market in Datsun is, first of all, the high level of production localization, the use of local suppliers and manufacturers in the person of AvtoVAZ to the maximum, which allows the company to offer a quality product at an affordable price.
According to the director of marketing and CRM of the official Wagner dealer group Michael Podushko, potentially the Datsun brand could compete with Lada with proper positioning, but this is not enough for success. “For successful sales, it is important to have a dealer network, the brand image, its fame, and price positioning, ” he notes. So, Datsun cars today sell more than 50 branded centers, and the AvtoVAZ dealer network has about 400 car dealerships in all corners of the country, being the largest in Russia.
Duster vs Terrano
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has presented us with another example of auto rebasing on the Russian market - Renault Duster and Nissan Terrano crossovers. These twin cars are also produced on the same conveyor of the Moscow Renault Russia plant. Perhaps this was the case, but it was with the launch of the Nissan Terrano in May last year that Renault Duster sales first fell and have since been steadily declining. For five months of 2015, the sales of the “Frenchman” more than halved to 16.8 thousand cars, which, however, did not prevent him from remaining the most popular SUV in Russia.
The French say they have always positioned the Duster as an affordable SUV that has no competitors in the market. “The success of the car confirms this position, since Duster remains the best in its segment for the third year in a row, ” the company said. Nissan says the Terrano and Duster are geared toward different customers. This is evidenced by the price positioning of models - under the Renault brand, the crossover costs from 584 thousand rubles, with the Nissan logo - already from 721 thousand rubles. “The status of the car and comfort are important for Terrano customers, so the basic equipment is already equipped with air conditioning, an audio system, a front passenger airbag, etc., ” the Japanese company said.
Duster stalled: redistribution in the domestic market of crossovers and SUVs. However, twin cars do not necessarily take customers from each other, but strengthen the position of the car concern in the fight against competitors due to a larger selection of models. “The positioning of such machines on the market is carried out in different ways, because these“ twins ”are not identical. There the options are different and the price segment, ”says Dmitry Baranov, a leading expert at Finam Management. - But the main thing is that the automaker, which produces similar models under different brands, increases its chances not to miss the buyer, not to let him go to the competition, and at the same time he can offer the consumer the maximum possible choice of car with a minimum of costs for the company. Actually, the traditions of copying in one form or another are almost as old as the world auto industry, so there is nothing shameful in badge engineering. ”
If we are not talking specifically about auto-racing, then the most common competition is between models created on a common platform. And here you can find a lot of examples from any multi-brand auto concern: Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio, ix35 and Sportage, Santa Fe and Sorento, Nissan Almera and Renault Logan, X-Trail and Koleos, Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Rapid, Tiguan and Yeti, Passat and Superb. And the list goes on. Although ten years ago, perhaps the PSA Peugeot Citroen products came to mind.
According to Aleksandr Zinoviev, all of the above-mentioned nozzle-formers are volume-forming for brands, increasing sales and market share, therefore no one will agree to abandon them. “In a special way, automakers do not breed these models, the configurations are similar, the cost is about the same level … The only difference is in the brands policy itself - somewhere there is a guarantee for a car for 5 years, somewhere for 2 years. Thanks to such tools, dealers can work with customers and conditionally transfer customers from one car to another. In this case, the position of the importer himself greatly influences the sales volume, and the winner is the one who has a more aggressive marketing and customer benefit policy relative to others. Not all importers now need a large amount, many have focused on quality, ”the expert says. At the same time, the sales volume of soplatform models of various brands, rather, determines not demand, but the volumes of their production, established by the automakers themselves. So, Hyundai Solaris production plans always exceed the assembly of Kia Rio, Renault Logan is produced in larger quantities than Nissan Almera, and Volkswagen Polo - than Skoda Rapid. Despite the fact that the models differ in design, and the brands have different positioning, image and profile of consumers, cannibalization inside the model groups of automobile concerns undoubtedly occurs, says Mikhail Podushko. “Often, brands within large concerns are different business units, so marketing policies can overlap, ” he explains.