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Russia May 2015: Hyundai Solaris outsells Lada Granta, Nissan X-trail soars to 5th place

The Nissan X-Trail is the most popular SUV in the whole of Russia in May…

* See the Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

The Russian new car market is down another abysmal 38% year-on-year both in May (125.801) and so far this year (641.933). The Russian macroeconomic indicators however remain shaky: inflation has stabilised to 15.8% in May vs. 16.9% in March which was the highest since 2002, and the GDP decline is set to accelerate from 1.9% over Q1 2015 to 4% in both Q2 and Q3. After trying – and failing – to ignite sales with a scrappage scheme earlier in the year, the Russian government has been offering subsidised auto loans and allowing consumer leasing since April, with Industry Minister Denis Manturov boldly announcing that this may boost auto sales by at least 300.000 units this year. For now, sales under the subsidised auto loan program stand at 38.500 vehicles in one and a half month.

…while the Hyundai Solaris is the overall best-selling nameplate in the country.

Once again the Top 3 manufacturers outpace the market resulting in a rare market consolidation: Lada (-33%), Hyundai (-13%) and Kia (-27%) hold a combined market share of 38.8% this month vs. just 33% a year ago. On the other hand, the next 4 carmakers all fall at least as fast as the market anew: Renault (-42%), Nissan (-38%), Toyota (-43%) and Volkswagen (-48%) all decline sharply. Lifted by the SUV fashion, UAZ is the only mass manufacturer to actually increase its volume year-on-year: up 8% to 3.853 units in 10th position vs. 16th a year ago with the Patriot up 21% to #21. Only Cadillac (130 deliveries), Brilliance (78) and Smart (75) also increase with Porsche (458) and Mini (100) stable. Worryingly down to #16 and 1.9% share last month, Datsun is back in the game in May at #14 with 3.367 units and 2.7%, simply its strongest market share in Russia so far and 2nd best volume below the 3.502 sold in March. Subaru (-81%), Jeep, Volvo (-82%), BAW (-86%), Haima (-87%), Ssangyong and Chrysler (both at -88%) lodge the most depressing scores.

The Lada Vesta will hit Russian dealerships this November.

The biggest surprise resides in the models ranking. Alarmingly for Lada, the Granta isn’t the best-selling nameplate at home for the third time in the past 7 months. Last November, the Kia Rio send shockwaves through the market by becoming the first foreign model to top Russian sales charts since the creation of the Lada homebrand in 1970, and last January the Hyundai Solaris replicated the same exploit by ranking #1. This month it becomes the first foreign nameplate in 45 years to manage to top Russian sales twice thanks to an incredible 10.654 units sold for a 8.5% market share, its highest volume since September 2013 and strongest Russian market share ever. The Lada Granta is down a harsh 35% to 8.471 sales while the Kia Rio is down 12% at #3 and the Lada Kalina down just 2% year-on-year but up two spots on April to #4.

Lada range – Russian sales and prices as at May 2015:

ModelMay sales2015 salesStarting price (roubles)Starting price (US$)
Lada VestaNov 2015 launchNov 2015 launch500,0009,000
Lada Priora1.637 (-56%)11.463 (-48%)420,0007,550
Lada Largus3.519 (-53%)15.523 (-44%)417,0007,500
Lada 4×42.918 (-11%)16.701 (+3%)395,0007,100
Lada Kalina5.604 (-2%)18.309 (-42%)361,3006,500
Lada Granta8.471 (-35%)49.542 (-15%)311,6005,600

While we linked the last two occurrences of Granta failing to defend its pole position to years of meticulous build-up of Hyundai and Kia dealer networks in the Russian countryside as well as the surprising strength of its slightly more upmarket rebadge the Datsun on-DO, this time there may be a third element explaining the Granta’s particularly harsh decline. More and more spy pictures are emerging on Russian car websites of the upcoming Lada Vesta: official production is scheduled kick start at Eastern Russian Izhevsk plant on September 25 for an on sale date of November 1, 5.000 units planned by the end of the year and 120.000 for 2016. Positioned on top of the Lada range despite being shorter than a Priora (see price list above), the Vesta will be in frontal competition with the very Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio that are currently challenging the Granta supremacy at home, and could be Lada’s best chance at keeping the #1 models spot in the near future. We are therefore potentially entering a period of about 18 months worth of shaky ground for Lada nameplates, the time it will take for buyers to readjust their understanding of the Lada range’s value equation. .

Mitsubishi Outlander Russian sales are up 87% year-on-year in May.

Ranked outside the Top 25 in April after an appearance at #16 in March, the Nissan X-Trail achieves one of the most impressive month-on-month leaps of any nameplate since BSCB has started following Russia monthly 5 years ago: it surges up to 5th place overall thanks to sales up 188% on the old model a year ago to 3.608 units and 2.9% share. This makes the X-Trail Russia’s best-selling SUV above the Toyota RAV4 up 10 spots on April to #7 and 3.516 sales – equalling its best-ever ranking also reached last November- and the Renault Duster at #9 and 3.427 deliveries. Notice also the Mitsubishi Outlander up 87% year-on-year to make its first appearance in the Russian Top 15 since last December at #12.

Previous month: Russia April 2015: Datsun fades in market down 41%

One year ago: Russia May 2014: Lada Largus smashes record, Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

Full May 2015 Top 55 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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