As we expected, the automotive market in Russia was not able to firmly maintain the upward trend, with Europe at hand, which was not fully recovering from the crisis. If we compare the results of the first quarter with the same period last year, then everything looks more than wonderful: an impressive breakthrough of 76.4% left all the leading countries of the European Union far behind. Germany’s most powerful economy had only 13.9% strength, France overpowered some 8.9%, and Spain, Italy and the UK generally went negative. Against their background, Russia seems to be the undisputed champion, if you do not take into account exotic Latvia with its 131.7% (though with some 1902 cars sold) and forget that at one time we fell much deeper than the rest.
Comparison with the beginning of 2010, when the whole world was just trying to get out of the bottom mud of the crisis, can make sense only in one case - for narcissism and for victorious reports. The true state of things is revealed when referring to the realities of a closer period - the last quarter of last year. It then turns out that our market managed to make a real breakthrough in October-December and be in third place in Europe. But to maintain a phenomenal result did not work - for three months of the new year, Russia again fell back to the usual fifth place.
While all our western neighbors moved forward, the domestic market with some delay rolled back by as much as 10.6%. Of course, there is no need to make tragedies out of it, because the seasonal winter decline in sales for our country is quite commonplace, as well as the unpredictability of the economy as a whole, but still the starting point must be chosen the right one. In addition to us, only Poland showed a negative result, which generally flew out of the top ten, as well as Sweden, which had nailed itself to the leaders at the end of the year but was gradually ousted from this company.
The consequences of the earthquake and tsunami have not yet seriously affected sales in Russia, as promised by representatives of Japanese companies. New cars, spare parts and components manufactured before the crisis still crawl at low speed across the oceans to different parts of the world. On the contrary, the catastrophe spurred demand for Japanese cars, fueled by fears that supplies might stop. Against the backdrop of a general decline, the performance of companies from the Land of the Rising Sun does not look so bad. The victim, apparently, most of all Nissan lost 3.1% and retreated one place, but nevertheless remained in the top three, the benefit of the St. Petersburg plant continues to develop dynamically. Three models are assembled there - the Teana sedan, X-Trail and Murano crossovers.
Toyota cars sold well, which sold 13.3% more than in the fourth quarter. This helped the company to rise in the ranking by 2 positions. Mazda, Suzuki and Honda moved one or two steps higher. Only Mitsubishi's sales fell slightly below the average market value, but at the same time it was able to maintain its place by closing the top ten.
The losers of the first quarter should not be sought among the Japanese at all, but where the emphasis was on a single shock model. So, Ford has a generational change with the absolute market leader Focus. Absolutely everyone knows about the release of the new car, and buyers prefer to wait a couple of months to look at it before finally deciding to purchase. Result - “Focus” lost the first place to “Renault-Logan”, and “Ford” itself rolled back to the seventh position. Opel lost 24.4% at the pace, not least because of the split of Astra in the H- and J-versions. But it was Astra that accounted for up to ¾ of sales of this company.
It’s not the first month that Kia has set an example of prudent marketing behavior, which has several hits at once - these are Cerato, Sid, Sportidzh. And, of course, “Rio” - its sales grew by as much as 29%, moving the model from 11th to fifth place. In general, the 1st quarter is rich in surprises and records: “Skoda-Octavia-A5”, which maintains an excellent price-quality-size ratio in spite of everything, acquired an additional 33.4% of buyers, and “Hyundai-Solaris” specially created for our country, released on the conveyor only at the beginning of the year, finished immediately in fourth place in the overall standings!
In the spring of 2010, the Russian Renault plant doubled production capacity, and in November switched to a three-shift operation mode. He is preparing to fill up his product list with Fluence and Megan. The Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Rus plant plans to reach the production volumes of 10, 000 cars per month by the end of April and organize a second production shift.
The domestic auto industry contrasts the active position of foreign companies with the old strategy of “people hawl”, which, however, so far gives it the opportunity to feel good. True, a generous state provides invaluable assistance to Soviet monsters lost in time, once again extending the recycling program for which an additional 5 billion rubles have been allocated. By the way, for this amount you can buy half of the Kalin quarterly issue! However, it is easy to make sure that Russian models are forced to step back step by step along the entire front: in the first quarter, Kalina production fell by 12%, classics - by 22.4%, Priors - 20.9%, and Samara”- by 23.3%. Sheviniva disguised as a Western product was the least affected, losing only 11.2%.
In general, domestic cars lost 15.5% of their supporters during the quarter. At the same time, production inside Russia decreased by only 0.5%, and this is a very good sign. Firstly, Russified foreign cars continue to crowd out uncompetitive domestic cars. And secondly, domestic production is slowly but surely replacing auto imports.