Chinese Automakers Secure Dominance In The Russian Market
Last year, Chinese car sales set a historic record in Russia, gaining almost half of the country’s auto market share. Chinese automakers have been making inroads into the Russian market with a new image.
Russia has seen continuous growth in Chinese car sales in recent years. Chinese cars are known for their affordability and increasingly competitive quality, which has contributed to their growing popularity among local consumers.
Insiders believe that the hot sales of Chinese cars are the result of years of efforts to improve quality and localisation, though the Western sanctions also played a role.
Chinese automakers made their initial entry into the Russian market in the early 21st century, but challenges like weak brand image and fierce competition prevented them from taking root in the market, and only a few survived.
In recent years, Chinese automakers have absorbed the world’s leading experts in the automotive field and continuously improved their technology. Substantial investments in research and development (R&D) have propelled China’s auto industry into rapid growth, solidifying its position as a manufacturing powerhouse.
Igor Morzharetto, deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian auto magazine “Behind the Wheel,” said that Chinese automobile companies have proven themselves with impressive performance. Consumers, once skeptical of Chinese cars, are starting to change their attitudes after trying them.
Morzharetto said that China’s auto industry has achieved “amazing results,” and with continuous improvements in quality and product range, Chinese manufacturers would be able to compete with global industry leaders.
Currently, most Chinese cars sold in Russia fall within the middle price range. Analysts pointed out that compared with other cars of the same price level, Chinese cars often boast more fashionable exterior designs and more interesting configurations, achieving a balance in terms of decoration, price and technology.
Moreover, Chinese brands stand out by offering longer warranty periods or mileage, reaching up to 7 years or 200,000 km.
“Many customers prefer the new Chinese brands to outdated European and Korean ones now,” said Alejandro Carreno, CEO of RexRent, one of Russia’s largest car rental companies. “I’m confident that within two to three years, the perception of Chinese brands and trust in them will be further reinforced.”
The Russian auto industry has long relied heavily on foreign technology. Domestic producers are now experiencing difficulties due to disruptions in the supply chain amid sanctions. Enterprises that took over factories vacated by Western automakers are also unable to resume production.
Local media reported that Russian auto production almost collapsed in 2022, and the only way to save the factories was to localise Chinese cars.
Haval stands as the only Chinese automaker with a wholly-owned full-cycle plant in Russia. Russian companies have begun to seek cooperation with other Chinese firms to assemble Chinese cars. Xinhua