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February 17, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Russian Car Sales Plunged in 2015

Russia’s new passenger car and light commercial vehicle sales dropped by 43 percent last year because of the unfavorable economy, and the decrease could lead to lower motor oil consumption, a consultancy found.

In 2015, 1.4 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were sold in the country, roughly 1 million units fewer than in the previous year, according to a study by Moscow-based Russian Automotive Market Research. The consultancy predicts declining sales in the passenger and light commercial vehicle car segments will continue in 2016, albeit at a slower pace of about 5 to 6 percent. “It could lead to lower consumption of motor oils in 2016 and 2017,” Tatyana Arbadzhi, head of RAMR, told Lube Report last week.

“The unemployment growth rate, the population’s declining buying power, and the uncertainty for the future are all reasons why Russians decided to cut spending on such expensive things as cars,” Arbadzhi noted. “The recently introduced tougher bank lending conditions and steep devaluation of the Russian ruble also contributed to this trend.”

Last year, the biggest regional markets for the new passenger car and light commercial vehicle sales were Moscow, the region around Moscow, and St. Petersburg – the most populated areas in Russia. “Together they accounted for 31 percent of the new car sales nationwide,” RAMR said.

In the passenger car segment, the models of Russian manufacturer Lada and Korean companies Kia and Hyundai were the country’s most popular in 2015. The Russian automaker held an 18 percent share, followed by Kia (11 percent) and Hyundai (10 percent). In the light commercial vehicle segment, Russian original equipment manufacturers Gaz and Uaz led the market, accounting for 37 percent and 22 percent of the total sales, respectively, in 2015.

The consultancy found that low- and medium-priced vehicles increased their shares of passenger car sales last year. “Their shares were up 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively, while the shares of the premium segment were 4 percent down in 2015,” RAMR said.

The consultancy also found that vans enjoyed greater popularity in the light commercial vehicle market; their share went up by 5 percent last year, while the shares of pickups and minivans fell 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. “The negative trends in new light commercial vehicle sales resulted from the decline in the country’s retail and wholesale businesses, a decline in the services and transportation sector, as well as the introduction of tougher bank lending conditions and higher prices for new light commercial vehicle models,” Arbadzhi said.

The bus market slumped as well, according to RAMR. In 2015, 9,545 new buses were sold in the country, down 18 percent from the previous year.

The entire RAMR research can be ordered here.