* Now updated with the Top 60 All-brands and Top 430 All-models *
A lot of elements combined to make 2015 one of the worst years for Russian car sales in the past two decades. The Russian economy is going through its worst recession since 1998, partly triggered by the fall in commodities prices such as petrol and Ukraine crisis-related economic sanctions imposed to the country. The ruble crumbled down 23% against the dollar in the past year, inflation rose up to double-digits, household purchasing power imploded. The Russian new car market has only seen two months of growth in the past 35 and posted its steepest year-on-year declines in the last two months of the year at -43% in November and -47% in December. As a result, annual sales stumble down 36% to just 1.601.216 units to return to its recession-plagued 2009 level (1.465.762).
Lada manages to salvage market share by falling slightly slower than the market at -31% to 269.096 units, but the winners of 2015 are Korean: Kia is down just 16% to 163.500 and 10.2% share vs. 7.9% in 2014 and Hyundai does even better at -10% to 161.201 and 10% vs. 7.2% a year ago. Below, Renault (-38%), Toyota (-39%), Nissan (-44%) and Volkswagen (-39%) all lose market share. General Motors has stopped sales of mainstream Chevrolet models (-60%) and retired Opel (-74%) from the market altogether.
A significant number of carmakers see their Russian sales all but disappear this year: Subaru (-61%), Suzuki (-67%), Citroen (-72%), Chery (-73%), Peugeot (-73%), Jeep (-75%), Honda (-78%) and SsangYong (-79%) lose over half of their volume in the space of one single year. Among the Chinese, Lifan (-36%) and Geely (-38%) follow the market to become the only two significant players still in activity and the only ones remaining in the Top 30.
All is not doom and gloom in the brands ranking as some manufacturers benefit from a sales transfer towards SUV and luxury fares: UAZ is down just 2% to #11 and gains one percentage point share to 3%, with Mercedes (-15%), BMW (-20%) and Audi (-25%) also outpacing the market. Lexus for its part actually improves at +6% thanks to the NX, as does Porsche (+12%) thanks to the Macan. Datsun ranks at a very satisfying 15th place for its first full year in market but fell 54% in December. Dongfeng (#40) is the only new carmaker launching in 2015.
In 45 years of Russian car sales records, never before had a foreign nameplate been so close to the annual best-seller title. The Lada Granta sees its advantage over Hyundai Solaris thaw from 38.166 sales in 2014 to a meagre 4.314 this year. In November 2014, the Kia Rio sent shockwaves through the Russian market and became the first foreign model to top monthly Russian sales since the first Lada launched in 1970. The past 12 months have seen this revolution unfold: the Hyundai Solaris took charge of the Russian charts no less than 7 times in 2015, including 5 straight months from July to November. If the Granta “miraculously” reclaims the lead in December to secure its third annual win with 120.182 sales, the crowning of either the Solaris (115.868) or the Rio (97.097) in 2016 seems inevitable.
For the first time since the seventies, Lada only places one nameplate among the Top 7 best-sellers: the Largus (-40%) and Kalina (-45%) are relegated to #8 and #9 respectively while the venerable 4×4 (aka Niva) is up 3 spots to #10 thanks to sales down just 18%. Even Renault does better with the Duster (#6) and Logan (#7). The GAZ Gazelle (-28%) shoots up 3 spots to #4, the VW Polo (-23%) is up four to #4, the Rapid becomes Skoda’s best-seller thanks to 24.547 sales for its first full year in market, the Datsun on-DO improves to #18, the venerable UAZ Bukhanka is up 14 ranks to #19 thanks to incredibly stable sales at 21.408 and the UAZ Patriot is down just 5% to land at a best-ever #23.
Further down, let’s single out the Lexus NX shooting up 211 spots to a shining 36th place (10.328 sales), the Lifan X60 remaining the best-selling Chinese nameplate in Russia and the only one in the Top 60 at #37 and despite sales down 51%, the Datsun mi-DO snapping the title of most popular all-new nameplate at #38 (8.165 sales) above the Ford Fiesta (#57), Lifan X50 (#101), Lada Vesta (#104), Mercedes GLE (#105) and Mercedes GLC (#125). Flying in the face of the current depressed economic context, the BMW X5 is up 50% to #53, the Mercedes C-Class is up 2% to #60, the Mercedes S-Class also up 2% to #69, the Mercedes GLA up 10% to #80 and the Audi Q7 up 52% to #87.
Previous year: Russia Full Year 2014: Lada Granta survives foreign push
Full Year 2015 Top 60 All-brands and Top 430 All-models vs. Full 2014 figures below.
Full December 2015 Top 54 All-brands and Top 309 All-models below.