Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Trans-Siberian Series Part 9: Lake Baikal
We continue on our Trans-Siberian railway adventure: the last stop was Irkutsk in Siberia, this time we are doing a tiny little hop 80 km South East to the shores of Lake Baikal, more precisely in the Litsvyanka village. Granted, there are not many cars here and the vehicle landscape is surely not representative of the region as Litsvyanka is mostly visited by Russian tourists, but the mix of cars I saw was so striking once again than I thought it should warrant an update on its own. Jump in for the full report!
If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or Check out 174 other car markets on my blog.
If any of you have had the chance of visiting the Japanese countryside (I haven’t, only saw it in movies), it is probably what it would look like… Blink and you will miss the only vehicles that let me know we were not in Japan: the ever-present Hyundai Solaris, a couple of SsangYongs, Hyundais and Kia and one FAW V5 (featured above), a few Lada Zhiguli hidden in the backyards of some lovely Siberian log cabins, three UAZ Bukhanka and one lonely Renault Logan/UAZ Hunter/ZAZ Tavria/Lada 4×4/Oka and GAZ Volga. That’s it. Apart from those, you would swear you are in Japan as almost every single vehicle here is a right-hand drive Japanese import… And there were hundreds of them around.
It’s simple: I saw way more Toyota Probox than Lada/Zhiguli on the shores of Lake Baikal, and when you take into account the fact that the Probox has only been on sale in Japan for 10 years whereas the Zhiguli’s career started 43 years ago all the way back in 1970 – let alone dominated Russian sales charts for a good 30 of these 43 years, you can appreciate how much of a feat that is.
The Toyota Ist, Ractis, Voxy, Alphard and Nissan Serena (all generations) are also popular here, along with the odd (unrelated to Japan although it is successful there too as an import) Mercedes E-Class coupe a few cashed-up Russians in need of Baikal bliss have brought here.
On the way from Irkutsk to the Lake Baikal, the only Ladas I saw where the couple of police Samaras posted along the road at every village we passed… I even improved my Japanese models recognition skills in Litsyanka: welcome to the Nissan Bassara and Toyota Vista! As I mentioned above, even though there is an FAW V5 featured in the top picture of this article, that’s the only one I saw in Litsvyanka and it’s only up there because it was so brand-new it didn’t even have any license plates yet! – which by the way is rather frequent in Russia, but unthinkable in many other countries in the world.
But wait there are more interesting Baikal facts: not only are Russian car buyers this side of Russia completely in love with used Japanese models, I have now started to spot used Korean imports, which in a way make more sense as they are left-hand drive – as they should be in Russia! This was a little harder to pick when you are focused on checking right-hand drive Japanese models but I did spot one Daewoo Winstorm, and the only country where the Chevrolet Captiva is called that way is South Korea…
Let’s see if this trend gets confirmed in Ulan Ude, on the other side of Lake Baikal and 455 km East of Irkustk, my last stop in Russia before I pass the Mongolian border.
Litsvyanka car (and Lake Baikal) landscape
SsangYong Actyon Sports and Toyota Ipsum
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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- SPPPP Aggression is pretty much the reason that racing exists, so I am going to call this an unsolvable problem. It's a contrived scenario in which you take risks to get rewards. You may be able to improve it ... but never eliminate it.
- MaintenanceCosts This is now our fourth 20th Anniversary GTI, and the third of those four that had major structural modifications for purely aesthetic reasons. I didn't picture Tim as the type to want to join the STANCE YO crowd, but here we are?
- JMII This is why I don't watch NASCAR, it just a crash fest. Normally due the nature of open-wheel cars you don't see such risky behavior during Indy car events. You can't trade paint and bump draft with an Indy car. I thought it was a sad ending for a 500. While everyone wants a green flag finish at some point (3 laps? 5 laps?) red flagging it is just tempting people too much like a reset button in a game.The overall problem is the 500 is not a "normal" race. Many one-off competitors enter it and for almost every driver they are willing to throw away the entire season championship just to win the "500". It sure pays way more then winning the championship. This would be like making a regular season NFL game worth more then the Super Bowl. This encourages risky behavior.I am not sure what the fix is, but Indy's restart procedures have been a mess for years. If I was in charge the rule would be pit speed limiter until the green flag drops at a certain place on the track - like NASCARs restart "zone". Currently the leader can pace the field however they wish and accelerate whenever they choose. This leads to multiple false and jumped starts with no penalty for the behavior. Officals rarely wave off such restarts, but that did happened once on Sunday so they tried to make driver behave. The situation almost didn't happen as there were two strategies in the end with some conserving fuel and running old tires, driving slower with others racing ahead. However the last caution put everyone on even terms so nobody had advantage. It always gets crazy in the last few laps but bunching up the field with a yellow or red flag is just asking for trouble.
- Tim Healey Lol it's simply that VWVortex is fertile ground for interesting used cars!
- Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
In the car landscape photo, the greenish car closest to the photographer would be a Nissan Cefiro A31. A lovely RWD 4 door sedan that is coveted by drifters, tuners and JDM fans. These were powered by RB engines, including the turbo RB20DET.
This series , cars and photography , is just stunning . Of _course_ we like it , we're all (mostly anyway) die hard GearHeads here . I give up and admit , I'm old & WAAYYYYyyyyy over the hill ~ I look at those wierd & wonderful Domestic vehicles (NOT the Asian imports) and sigh , they're *so* beautiful and stylish , designed to a purpose . I'd love one of those odd little sedans or maybe a truck..... Please keep on writing these threads for us who don't travel enough . -Nate