By on April 19, 2012

Now that most of you know about the Top 100 best-selling cars in the world and the Top 318 best-selling models in Europe, I can go back to travelling where you want me to… Following your lead, we have already been to ChileGeorgia (the country, not the American state), MyanmarBolivia and Paraguay.

Now it seems like a few of you really enjoyed the trip we made to Russia exactly one year ago. Given a lot has changed since, I found it my duty to give you an update on the country of Vladimir Putin.

But wait, Russia is not your cup of vodka? нет проблем, because I have sales info for 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. So don’t be shy and click away!

So I was saying a lot has changed in Russia…

First of all from a general point of view, the Russian market has grown significantly in one year: in March, it was up 12 percent year-on-year to 252,816 registrations, bringing the 2012 year-to-date total to 614,273 units after 3 months, up 19 percent on 2011.

Secondly the antediluvian Lada 2105/7 (born in 1979) and Samara (1984) are about to be discontinued! Yep that’s a massive event, and if the Lada 2105/7 was still leading the models ranking one year ago its fortune is logically very different today: it is down to #21 in March with sales down 78 percent year-on-year, while the Samara is down 36 percent to #9.

But if these two icons are on the way out, who’s coming in? One word: Granta. The new Lada Granta kick-started its production in December 2011 and as of March it is already up to 4th place in the models ranking with 9,291 sales and 3.7 percent share. The Granta is a big event for local brand Lada as it has the daunting task of keeping the brand afloat in an increasingly competitive market.

For more info about the Granta launch in Russia you can click here.

The third big change the Russian market has undertaken in the last year is the responsibility of Hyundai. The Korean manufacturer launched the locally manufactured ‘Solaris’ in early 2011. The Solaris is a new generation Accent fine-tuned to suit Russian road conditions and it has been an instant hit with Russian consumers, reaching levels never seen before for a model by a foreign brand in Russia.

In February the Solaris was up to #2, quite possibly the highest position ever reached by a ‘foreign’ model in Russia even though it is built locally. It keeps this spot in March with 10,492 sales and 4.2 percent share.

Meanwhile, the Lada Kalina finished 2011 in pole position for the very first time and is in the lead after 3 months in 2012 with 27,820 sales and 4.5 percent share, in spite of a 11 percent drop year-on-year.

It is followed by the Lada Priora at 27,433 units, down 15 percent year-on-year, and the Hyundai Solaris with 27,072 sales and 4.4 percent share, up 166 percent year-on-year.

Russia March 2012 Top 10 best-selling models:

Pos Model Mar % /11
1 Lada Kalina 11,071 4.4% -15%
2 Hyundai Solaris 10,592 4.2% 57%
3 Lada Priora 9,836 3.9% -15%
4 Lada Granta 9,291 3.7% new
5 Ford Focus 7,987 3.2% 1%
6 Kia Rio 7,100 2.8% 95%
7 VW Polo 6,574 2.6% 152%
8 Renault Logan 6,303 2.5% -11%
9 Lada Samara 5,636 2.2% -36%
10 Chevrolet Niva 5,560 2.2% 36%

You can check out the entire Top 25 here.

Russia 3 months 2012 Top 10 best-selling models:

Pos Model 2012 % /11
1 Lada Kalina 27,820 4.5% -11%
2 Lada Priora 27,433 4.5% -3%
3 Hyundai Solaris 27,072 4.4% 166%
4 Ford Focus 19,597 3.2% 28%
5 Kia Rio 18,315 3.0% 102%
6 Renault Logan 17,140 2.8% -5%
7 Lada Granta 16,876 2.7% new
8 VW Polo 15,295 2.5% 91%
9 Lada Samara 14,566 2.4% -34%
10 Chevrolet Niva 14,049 2.3% 38%

You can check out the entire Top 25 here.

So there, now I can rest assured that you have the latest information on the Russian car market. I couldn’t risk putting you in danger of not being totally up-to-date for your next posh dinner!

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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9 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Lots of Changes in Russia...”

  • avatar

    I’m heading there soon so thanks for the car spotting tips! Haven’t been there in 15 years so I am expecting big changes everywhere, not just in the cars on the road.

  • avatar

    The Lada 2105/2107 is really just a facelift of the Lada 2101, introduced in 1970. That of course was the Russian version of the 1966 Fiat 124, so we’re effectively talking about retiring a 45-year-old model.

    I also believe the Lada Granta is replacing the Kalina (not the Samara) as the two are built on the same platform.

  • avatar

    The Russians are smart people. We rely on their technology to get to the Space Station… One would think they would be able to design and build a decent reliable car. Anyone have some insight on this?

    • 0 avatar

      GMLCountry, you are asking a loaded question here. In essence, you are asking “What’s wrong with Russia?” The combined TTAC writing team would have to spend years to formulate a comprehensive answer to that. I grew up there, got married, got a university degree, and even I cannot give you a clear, concise answer. Let me distract you with this: in early 70’s, my proud, then-young parents bought a Zhiguli/Lada 2101. One in ten families had a car back then. There were maybe 15 cars parked at our building’s curbside – for hundred or so apartments. We were very cool. Then, one day, one of the neighbors, a merchant marine, brought a Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1973-1974?) from abroad, and parked it next to the rest of them. (That’s why people would become merchant marines – to bring foreign stuff back home for personal consumption or resale.) To us, the Chevy looked like a sleek, bronze-colored starship. It was a Revelation. There could be no meaningful comparisons to Soviet cars. And this was in the 70’s, the height of Soviet system, its peak, with space flights, puppet regimes all over the world, rising oil prices, etc. You asked for an insight… well, consider this: why would the Soviet government order its factories design and build something like that Chevy for the populace? Why would they care to produce something beautiful for the citizenry? And if they did, it would take decades to develop the know-how and quality. I mean, those Ladas were crap from day one, and it was a foreign product assembled in Togliatti under Fiat supervision and on Fiat’s equipment. So, what’s wrong with a country that can build reliable space stations but cannot develop one decent car model? I don’t know.

      • 0 avatar

        Hi “LKre”…

        I have also been involved with Russians here for some time. I have been largely an “outsider” looking “in”, but maybe that can give some objectivity.

        I don’t know if I can answer for the entire complex country of Russia, but the people have shown some common issues that may be uniquely “Russian”, despite their having been here for some time now. These will be gross generalizations that have tons of exceptions, but you’ll get the idea, I’m sure. I am not trying to be prejudicial, but simply analytical:

        1) People don’t count; the “state” does. (May explain poor consumer products, but not international reputation work, like the ISS. Even immigrants in the US after many years seem to retain an overriding sense of socialism, in which individual agreements don’t matter);

        2) Personal charity to others is irrelevant. (In the crash video, look at the reluctance shown by people in unaffected vehicles to help others who are directly involved in the accidents. Most just drive on.)

        3) Good organization isn’t needed. (Russians don’t think with organizational discipline as Westerners do; even their churches here can’t seem to “get it together” to raise funds properly.)

        4) Personal planning for the future is not desirable; the present is what counts. (In order to create quality large-scale consumer products and services, planning is everything. Look at the success of the Japanese with their 5-year and 10-year plans; and of course, the Germans, who are planning to take over the #1 spot in the auto world by 2018.)

        5) Then there is the Russian language itself. Unfortunately, language does impart culture; and certain modes of expression either enable or deny styles of thinking and values. Because of its multiple cases, three genders, lack of articles, many “endings”, and poor tense development, saying the same things in Russian (which I speak poorly) is often a chore that may not even deliver the same meanings. (Look at the difficulty the early SALT negotiators had in coming to nuclear arms understandings.)

        In my view, one of the business-success capabilities of English is its ease and subtly of expression; uncomplicated grammar; and 1-million word vocabulary. Because of this, some other countries unofficially promote learning English for commercial interchange when it make sense to do so. For example, on scale of 1 to 5, the US State Department lists learning English competently as “1”; and Russian as about “3”.

        So, my estimate is that you should not expect good, large-scale, consumer products from Russia for some time, cars being among the most obvious examples, and a good “measure” of consumer-product success or failure.


  • avatar

    Those Russians sure do like to run red lights.

    • 0 avatar

      And jump greens. My favorite was near the end, where the drivers coming out from under the bridge seemed to believe that if they thrust themselves agressively enough at the car trying to sneak across, it would somehow dematerialize and leave the way clear.

  • avatar

    Clearly the Soviets didn’t want to improve the quality of life of its population. To them keeping Communism afloat, building an army and beating USA in the arms race was everything.

    There is still this mentality in third-world countries among leftists who would forbid all foreign technology and force us to live like in the 18th century as long as it solves world hunger. You know, like in Cuba.

  • avatar

    The evergreen Logan needs a special mention, too.

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