Who is Russia buying its cars from?

Until February 24 of this year, Russia enjoyed a reasonably large automobile market.. In 2021, a total of 1.67 million new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were sold, with a growth of 4.3% compared to 2020 and an expected growth of 3.3% for this year. But obviously all these forecasts today are little less than a dead letter.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February has led to the decreeing of a whole series of sanctions and a disruption of trade relations with countries that supplied Russia with carsas well as components to manufacture vehicles locally, which have almost completely paralyzed supply chains, halted factory activity and caused both locally established manufacturers and exporters to cease their activities in Russia.

In recent weeks we have seen how different brands sold their business in Russia to local companies and those who had factories in the territory of the Russian Federation are considering disposing of their plants, or have already proceeded to do so. Nissan, for example, announced in October its departure from Russia and the sale of its factory in St. Petersburg for one euro (Automotive News).

Some car manufacturers established in Russia have already sold their business, and even their factories, while many others are already considering leaving the country.

AvtoVAZ factory in Tolyatti, Russia.

Who is Russia buying its cars from?

With the factories paralyzed, waiting for a possible reconversion in the hands of public companies, and imports practically stopped, Who is Russia buying its cars from?

As published Reuters, the disconnection with a good part of the commercial partners that Russia had maintained until February is causing many dealers to become second-hand vehicle distributors and, therefore, shaking up the internal second-hand market. But I would also be cheering the imports of second-hand vehicles, mainly from Japan.

Taking August figures as a reference, new car sales in Russia in August would have totaled 41,698 cars, a considerable drop compared to the 110,000 cars that were sold in August 2021, which, even so, is the smallest year-on-year drop since beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.

Japan is the main supplier of second-hand cars to Russia and China of new cars

Russia would have doubled the import of second-hand vehicles in August (23,117 cars), compared to the figures for February (11,055 cars). Figures that would also double the number of new cars imported in August (10,257 cars).

According to these data, the vast majority of imported second-hand cars come from Japan (76%), a market that has historically supplied cheap used cars, not only to Russia, but also to other Central Asian markets. 70% of imported new carsSecondly, come from Chinawhose exports to Russia – in general – have increased by 20% (Reuters).

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