Import brands progress in Russia

By From Automotive News | Jan 31 2007
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For the first time, non-Russian brands accounted for more new-car sales last year than domestic models, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The country's auto market grew 28.5 percent, to 1.8 million units. Ford has led last year's advance by foreign-brand automakers in Russia, followed closely by General Motors' Chevrolet brand and Hyundai.

Foreign brands claimed almost all of Russia's vehicle sales growth. This was a combination of 720,000 imports and 280,000 vehicles built inside Russia to reach 1 million units last year, said Pricewaterhouse-Coopers. Russia's domestic brands, mainly AvtoVAZ, which makes Ladas, sold 800,000 vehicles last year, down from 840,000 in 2005.

Ford's volume almost doubled, to 115,985 units, according to data provided by the Association of European Businesses in Russia. Close behind were Chevrolet at 111,458 units and Hyundai with 100,685. The Ford Focus, Russia's most popular import-brand car, is built in St. Petersburg.

Sales of foreign brands are up eightfold since 2002, when they sold 117,000 imports and 11,000 locally built cars in a total market of 970,000. Russia's 1.8 million unit sales in 2006 meant that the country has passed Spain in market size.

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