By on October 9, 2013

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a trip through Trans-Siberian railway, stopping along the way in various Russia, Mongolian and Chinese cities to observe the vastly different car landscapes each time. The first stop was St Petersburg in Russia, we are now off to Moscow!

Russia, Mongolia and China not your thing? That’s fine, you can check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

Back to the Trans-Siberian and Moscow. Jump in!

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here.

Renault LoganThe Moscow police are big fans of the Renault Logan.

After St Petersburg we are now travelling 700 km South-East to Moscow, the capital of Russia and home to 11.5 million inhabitants. The first observation when arriving in Moscow is the age of the car park: much older than in St Petersburg at 7-8 years old on average. So whereas the St Petersburg car landscape was like removing all Ladas from the 2013 sales charts, for Moscow think of the most popular foreign models in the country in 2005-2006 (Ford Focus, Chevrolet Optra, Mitsubishi Lancer) and you won’t be far from the mark.

Chevrolet NivaChevrolet Niva

There are more Ladas than in St Petersburg with the Samara, Priora and 110 most frequent, but still way below the national sales levels. I saw my first Lada 4×4 pick-up here though! In Moscow I had the privilege to meet with Vladimir Soloviev from the #1 car magazine in Russia, Za Rulem. Vladimir told me that half the cars sold in the entire country are sold in Moscow, which is a huge percentage and means the rest of Russia is filled with Ladas!

Lada ClassicLada Classic

Another way to describe the Moscow car landscape is extreme: more luxury cars and more bruised and battered cars but not much in between. Loud is also a good word: like in St Petersburg, there doesn’t seem to be any speed limits in town, and drivers gauge each other by the sound their engine does, sometimes unwittingly: I saw a 1992 VW Golf fly past at a speed I had not thought it capable, making an excruciating sound.

Hyundai SolarisHyundai Solaris

Last time I published an article about Moscow car sales in November 2011 the Ford Focus and Renault Logan were very strong. This is pretty much still valid, with the addition of the Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio which have now clearly made their mark on Moscow traffic. I will venture an estimate on the Moscow sales charts and say the Hyundai Solaris should lead the pack followed by the Ford Focus, Kia Rio and Renault Logan, very successful with the local police, with the Kia Cee’d, Chevrolet Cruze, Kia Sportage and new generation Toyota RAV4 also very popular.

Toyota HighlanderToyota Highlander

Moscovites push the SUV trend we saw in St Petersburg even further which I didn’t think was possible… Volvo does particularly well in this segment, with two XC60 sitting next to each other at a traffic light a rather common sight. Lots of SsangYong Kyron as well, which is a refreshing if not entertaining trend, and lots and lots of new generation Range Rover. Like in St Petersburg, it looks like more Moscovites have bought one in the last 3 months the model has been on sale than they have Lada Grantas which is supposed to lead the Russian national sales charts! That couldn’t be further from the truth in Moscow…

Kia ForteKia Forte

Other models I was surprised to see often here are the new generation Kia Forte, Ford Mondeo, Chevrolet Spark and Honda Pilot, but the reward for the most over-represented model in Moscow, after the Nissan Juke in St Petersburg, goes to the Nissan Murano. Granted, it’s not a flood of them, but the current generation of the model appeared regularly enough in the time I was in Russia’s capital to grab my attention.

1 Range RoverThe new generation Range Rover is already everywhere in Moscow!

Estimated Top 10 best-selling models in September 2013 – Moscow:

Pos Model
1 Hyundai Solaris
2 Ford Focus
3 Kia Rio
4 Renault Logan
5 Kia Cee’d
6 Chevrolet Cruze
7 Kia Sportage
8 Toyota RAV4
9 Kia Forte
10 Nissan Murano

Lada OkaLada Oka

9 Ford Mondeo Chevrolet Spark Renault LoganFord Mondeo, Chevrolet Spark and Renault Logan

Honda PilotHonda Pilot

Kia RioKia Rio

JAC ReinJAC Rein

Toyota RAV4Toyota RAV4 (and Mercedes G Class, also popular in Moscow)

Toyota Camry VolgaToyota Camry and GAZ Volga

Lada SamaraLada Samara

Toyota PradoToyota Prado

Lada PrioraLada Priora

Skoda SuperbHordes of Skoda Superb are constantly parked across the road from the Kremlin…

Chevrolet OrlandoChevrolet Orlando

Kia RioKia Rio

That was Moscow! I hope it was entertaining enough. Next stop: Kazan in Tatarstan (that’s still in Russia though!)…

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

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15 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Trans-Siberian Series Part 2: Moscow, Russia...”

  • avatar

    you should’ve probably given a try to Yaroslavl or some other small city

  • avatar

    I’d like to see photos of a car lot – new and used. Seems the traditional Cyrillic alphabet is being replaced by a curious combination of English and Cyrillic in some of the pics. I still can’t read the signs!

    How about roads? Have they improved? Are there freeways? Frequency of gas stations?

    Details, please, I might want to travel there sometime and actually drive somewhere!

    • 0 avatar

      Cyrillic is easy to learn. I know it sounds strange but it’s true. Russian is stupid easy to spell it its mostly phonetic.

      But, the road are crap in most of Russia. Moscow isn’t too bad.

      Don’t go in the winter outside the main places, i don’t think Russians know what a plow is or how to use it, or a shovel. It makes walking to get groceries very interesting when you walk over months worth of walked on snow. Roads are the same compacted snow from getting driven over with ruts.

      Thanks for the magazine name I’m going to bookmark their website.

  • avatar

    Za Rulem, not Za Rulev.

  • avatar

    Another small correction:

    While the VAZ-1111 Oka was designed by AvtoVAZ, it was never made at the Togliatti factory, they were made by SeAZ, as well as a factory formerly belonging to KaMAZ. Thus, no one calls them “Lada Oka”, just “Oka.” Fun little cars, 2 cylinder engine has a very distinct sound, a few years back they started to sell them with chinese-copy Toyota 1.1L 3 cylinder engines, which made it a decent city car, but at the cost of a 2105 Lada, a full fledged family sedan relatively speaking.

    Waiting with anticipation for the world of old Soviet cars you will encounter in the boonies!

  • avatar

    Is it true that parking rules hardly exist in Moscow and Petersburg? I was there a year ago, and that seemed to be the case. Lotsa Ladas in both cities then, too. Also plenty of the biggest, blackest German sedans for officials.

    • 0 avatar

      In St. Petersburg parking was strange at times. No meters and I’ve seen people park in perpendicular fashion with their cars’ buts sticking out to pedestrian sidewalks. There were double-parked people on occasion but nothing awful.

      As for large black sedans – mostly cheaper larger Mercedes and BMW 520i along with some Lexus LS. Not much else from what I saw in same city.

  • avatar

    There’s a Russian Youtuber who reviews cars really in-depth. Like everything from the plastics, driving impressions, and conversations with random Russian women. Russian sounds like a funny language so it’s amusing even though I don’t understand anything.

    • 0 avatar

      I raise you “ZenkevichRu2,” short 2:30 clips about each and every soviet/russian car, along with some motorcycles and military equipment. No dubbed versions that I’ve seen, unfortunately.


  • avatar

    I would love to see some photos of the Lada Niva in it’s natural environment.

  • avatar

    I quite like the old Lada…its archaicness is charming.

  • avatar

    Now…why are half of all cars in Russia sold in Moscow? Lack of dealerships elsewhere? Do people physically come to Moscow to take delivery, or are cars shipped from Moscow?

  • avatar

    .. wild capitalismus society ! .. there’s a lot of crappy cars and a lot of luxury, nouveau-riche stuff ..
    you can look at this place as a guest-tourist , but to live in that jungle-mess would be impossible ..

    let’s make a contest: which one is worst: chinesse , arab or russian .. nouveau-riche .. ?!? .. (..ohhh I’m sorry: now you should call them suckcesssfull busssinesssman :)

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