Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: From Russia With Lada. And Hyundai. And Kia. And Renault. And…

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

We continue on our shopping list of what cars and carmakers sold best in the biggest markets in the world and after China and Europe, today we stop in Russia. Couldn’t care less? That’s ok, you can check out the best-selling models and brands in 171 additional countries and territories on my blog. Enjoy!

Back to Russia.

Oh and every time I write about car sales in Russia I can’t help but put that video up. I love it too much. Sorry.

Back to car sales. Lots-of-Ladas-but-not-only. In 6 words this is what happened last year in Russia.

I know you’re dying to know more. So jump!

While the rest of Europe was slowly but surely falling back into recession, Russia was full of love for cars.

New car sales in Russland, as they say in Germany, simply reach their all-time record level in 2012. According to the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation, the market is up 11% on 2011 to hit 2,935,111 registrations, beating the 2,704,040 units sold in 2008 before the global financial crisis.

See the Full Year 2012 Top 50 carmakers in Russia here

Lada is still king of the steppe, but with sales down 7% it sees its market share slip down to 18.4% with a little less that 540,000 vehicles sold last year. Chevrolet, Renault and Kia follow, all guns blazing: +18%, +23% and +23% again respectively… Hyundai, at “only” +7%, drops 2 spots to #5. The 4 carmakers above all sold between 175,000 and 205,000 units last year.

Volkswagen is even more impressive and takes off by 40% year-on-year to almost 165,000 sales at #6.

Now. Is there one country in the world where Volkswagen is not kicking arse right now? Anyone? Can’t find one myself…

See the Full Year 2012 Top 50 carmakers in Russia here

Notice also Toyota up 28%, Skoda up 34% and Opel up 20% (thank God for Russia eh?). German premium is in high demand in Russia: Audi is up 44% this year, BMW up 33%, and Mercedes up 29%. Finally Lifan, the one and only and lonely Chinese in the Top 25, is up 15% to, well,

The Lada Kalina is the most romantic car in the world.

Model-wise, it was a year of transition between the old guard:

The Lada Kalina, #1 in 2011 and atop the monthly ranking 6 times in the first 7 months of the year, and other ‘prehistorical’ Ladas like the 1984 Samara and the 2105-7 Series launched 30 years ago…both being phased out during the year…

Achtung! The Lada Granta DOES have headlights.

…and the new guard: the Lada Granta, #1 from September onwards

At least the 27 millionth Lada was a Priora…

However the winner in 2012 is somewhere between the old and the new.

Weaker Kalina sales in Q4 and a relatively late bloom of the Granta put the Lada Priora in pole position over the Full Year 2012 for only the 2nd time after 2009 with 125,951 sales and 4.3% share, even though it only ranked #1 in February & August.

No logic in it, but that’s the way it is.

See the Full Year 2012 Top 25 best-selling models in Russia here

Less than 5,000 units below at #2 we find the Lada Granta with 121,151 units and 4.1% share. It made its first official appearance within the monthly Top 25 in January at #21, broke into the Top 10 in February and into the Top 5 in March but had to wait until August to climb onto the podium before taking the lead in September and staying there, peaking at 14,197 sales and 5.6% in October.

Hyundai Solaris. With a bit of solar effect in the background – geddit?

The Kalina is down 2 ranks and 16% to #3 while the Hyundai Solaris remains the most popular foreign model, up 14% and one spot on 2011 to #4 with 110,776 sales, to my knowledge the first time a model sold by a foreign manufacturer (notice how I go around the fact it is built in Russia?) sells over 100,000 annual units in Russia. The Solaris even ranked #2 overall in February and May.

See the Full Year 2012 Top 25 best-selling models in Russia here

Now I can see some of you with eyes wider than UFOs, telling me ‘but what the heck is the Hyundai Solaris?’

Quiet please, it’s just a Hyundai Accent manufactured in Russia, and someone in marketing thought that naming it Solaris would make it more appealing to Russian customers. Uh? I know.

Chevrolet Cruze. Picture by Roger-Diesel, all rights reserved.

Below the Ford Focus at the Kia Rio impresses, gaining 70% at #6. The Chevrolet Cruze also shines: up 68% to #9 while the Skoda Octavia is up 27% to

Renault Duster

Apart from the Granta, there are 4 newcomers in the Russian Top 25 in 2012: the best-performing is by far the Renault Duster landing directly at #17 with 47,344 units and peaking at a fantastic #5 in December. It is followed by the Toyota Camry up 61% to the Kia Sportage up 37% to #22 and the VW Tiguan up 70% to

And with it you now know everything there is to know about the car market in Russia.

добро пожаловать.

See the Full Year 2012 Top 25 best-selling models in Russia here

All data is sourced from the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation.

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

Join the conversation
  • Vvk Vvk on Feb 06, 2013

    Solaris does sound much better than Accent in Russian. Accent sounds stupid.

  • MrWhopee MrWhopee on Feb 06, 2013

    "Is there one country in the world where Volkswagen is now kicking arse right now?" I'm not sure what this sentence means, but if it meant "Is there one country where Volkswagen is _not_ kicking arse now", I would suggest Indonesia, where VW sales are a minuscule. Though as far as growth go, it might still racked up impressive number. After all, if you sell 20 cars last year and 40 cars this year, it would be a 100% increase, though the overall number is still minuscule.

  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.
  • Arthur Dailey Love the Abe Rothstein tribute suits. Too bad about the car. Seems to have been well loved for most of its life.