WHO UP, WHO DOWN
In the European automobile market (to which we also classify ourselves), a stagnation occurred: passenger car sales in the first quarter of 2005 decreased by 3.2% compared to the same period of 2004. The fall was recorded by most global manufacturers - from the Volkswagen group (-2.1%) to the FIAT concern (-15%). Failures occurred even in the most eminent “giants”, including Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, and only a few reported growth (BMW, Honda, KIA, Mitsubishi). News agencies brought disappointing news about the billions in losses of the largest automakers. And against this bleak background, there’s a message from Russia: sales of foreign cars have grown again - almost twice!
Meanwhile, the “old” Russian manufacturers worked, we can say, in the European rhythm: in the first quarter, AvtoVAZ reduced car production by 4.7% compared to the same period last year, and GAZ reduced car sales by 34.7% (for cars the fall is even greater - 42.8%). On the contrary, foreigners - both those who assemble their models in Russia and those who only import - are demonstrating enviable growth here. The top ten leaders have changed quite a bit, but this spring nevertheless presented some surprises.
The Chevrolet brand left the first line, losing it to UzDaewoo - a gloomy outcome for GM-AVTOVAZ JV. Yes, it was possible to increase the production of Niva and Viv (as much as 33% compared to the first quarter of last year), but sales even fell slightly (in the first quarter of 2004 10 331 off-road vehicles were sold, and in the current quarter - 10 138). The New Year’s price increase, as we had foreseen, made itself felt: about 20% of the produced cars have not yet been sold out. As a result, the factory decided to reduce production volumes!
The fact that the UzDeu company “jumped” from 4th to 1st and the old woman Nexia took the first step among the models - sales leaders is very remarkable for the current Russian market. Potential buyers are not scared away by either the ancient design or the outdated design, if this is combined with reliability and low price. Among other things, such a development of events is an unpleasant bell for AvtoVAZ: many buyers of Nexia are failed ten owners.
Another spring surprise - the Mitsubishi company climbed to fourth place in sales. Moreover, the figure of 11, 900 cars is the best for her in the European market! The answer is simple - the low-cost “Lancer” is in the asset (third place among the leading models), and the importer, the Rolf group, is pursuing an active marketing policy, promoting the brand on the Russian market.
The second year, Mazda has shown extremely high growth rates: since the beginning of the year, sales have grown 3.5 times while the company’s representative office in Russia has just opened. Even experts find it difficult to explain the phenomenon in our market: it shares a platform with Ford, and the quality does not differ from other Japanese companies. And yet…
In the second ten most growth reached "Skoda". For the past three years, she has been losing ground, but in the first quarter of 2005, sales of Octavia and Fabia finally went up, increasing by 3.3 times! The revived representative office of the company in Russia in a short time brought order among dealers, managed to arrange a return to the dollar zone, slightly reduce prices - and here is the result.
If we talk about other events in the Russian market, we began to buy more expensive cars and all-terrain vehicles. Land Rover sales grew 48%, Jeeps up 184%, and Toyota Land Cruisers sold in thousands. Almost the entire growth in sales of Volkswagen was provided by the expensive Tuareg!
Once again, we can state: Korean and Japanese companies rule the ball in our market, and if one of the Europeans or Americans got into the top ten, it’s only thanks to the Russian assembly. As already mentioned, in three months 113 thousand new foreign cars were sold in Russia. During the same period, AvtoVAZ sold about 140 thousand, from which it follows that the parity between “ours” and “not ours” may already come on the basis of six months!
High sales growth rates forced many analysts to revise forecasts for the half year and for the year as a whole. The cherished figure of half a million new foreign cars sold, the market is expected to overcome in November. At the end of the year, at least five companies (Toyota, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi and UzDeu) will sell more than 50 thousand cars each, and the first three will come close to the mark of 70 thousand.
If we talk about the first half of the year, it is obvious that six foreign manufacturers will sell more than 20 thousand cars (the forecast of ZR is in the diagram on the left). Unfortunately, as already noted, the products of the JV-Em-AvtoVAZ joint venture under the Chevrolet brand are somewhat losing their lead. Sales of Korean cars with this brand are growing by leaps and bounds (in the first quarter - over 3 thousand Aveo and Lacetti), but in Togliatti they decided to slow down - to reduce, as mentioned above, the production of Chevrolet more expensive off-road vehicles Niva . It is possible that from the third line of the rating they will move even lower.
But be that as it may, foreign cars are rapidly advancing.
- What are your forecasts for this year, if we talk about car sales in the country as a whole?
- The rapid growth in sales of foreign cars in the first quarter has already required adjustments to the estimated sales volumes in Russia. Today the forecast is as follows: approximately 580 thousand foreign cars will be sold, 950 thousand - domestic brands and a little more than 200 thousand second-hand. Alas, this is an indisputable fact: the share of proper Russian brands will be noticeably reduced, and from 2006, when the offensive of Chinese and Indian manufacturers begins, the process will go especially fast. They will present a new generation of machines born with the help of European and Japanese companies. This is a serious threat not only for the products of domestic automobile plants, but also for the inexpensive foreign cars sold by us. In 2010, as it seems to me, the foreign car market will generally be divided into three segments. Western European and partially Japanese companies will supply premium cars, the average price niche will be occupied by Japanese and Korean cars assembled in Russia, and inexpensive cars will come from … China, India, Iran. Most of them will also be collected in Russia.
- Is the Rolf group ready for this? After all, you are the sales leader in the Russian market of foreign cars …