MOSCOW PREVIEW: Show targets wealthy car buyers
Organisers of Russia's motor show are expecting many wealthy car buyers to flock to the annual event this week as high end vehicles take the spotlight away from budget rivals.
Russia's car industry has gradually come back to life in 2010 due to increasing sales of low cost vehicles such as Ladas, but exhibitors at the Moscow show will be dominated by premium manufacturers gunning for big spending Russians, Reuters reported.
Among eight world car launches are a Jaguar XJ and Land Rover Freelander, both brands owned by Tata Motors, and a new Porsche 911. Organisers are expecting around 1.5 million 'petrol heads' to attend the event, close to the 1.6m who visited in the boom year of 2008.
"Everything is back to the level of 2008 - a huge area, crazy investments," - said Oleg Datsko, chief executive of internet sales site Auto-Dealer.ru. The show will open to the public on 27 August.
The show was cancelled last year as the global economic crisis devastated the Russian car industry. Sales nearly halved year on year as consumers were denied access to credit, sending several manufacturers close to the wall.
Sales for the first seven months of this year were up 9% on 2009 to 963,688, although this was still 45% below 2008 levels. The government has said it expects a 15% rise for the whole year.
The 2010 revival has been partly based on a state sponsored scrappage scheme that has provided RUB50,000 to drivers trading in locally made cars aged 10 years or older.
The scheme was introduced in March and recently extended into next year. Its focus on low-end cars has been of particular benefit to Lada maker AvtoVAZ , which helped fuel a 48% industry rise in July.
Russian Association of Car dealers Dmitry Gulin said manufacturers had chosen to exhibit more premium cars in the hope that budget models would continue to sell without promotional efforts.
The Association of European Businesses (AEB) said the Russian car market fell 49% last year to 1.46m, but the smaller premium segment fell 36%.
The flagship manufacturers at the autoshow are foreign groups, although some will produce the new cars in Russia. Local manufacturers will also have cars on display -- AvtoVAZ will exhibit a new seven-seater budget Lada R90.
Other world premieres include a Toyota Highlander, a Ford Mondeo and a Renault Latitude. Renault owns 25% of AvtoVAZ, and has pledged to start manufacturing its own brand at the Russian giant's plant in Togliatti, central Russia.