The Russian auto market grew by 102% in March this year, and by 86% in Q1 2024, figures released by the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses (AEB) say. The numbers released by the AEB also show sales for a new brand – Solaris – that has debuted on the back of Hyundai‘s exit (more details below).

Russian and Chinese brands continue to be Russian buyers’ first choice, after Western brands exited Russia in the wake of Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

Lada, Haval, Chery, Geely and GAZ LCV maintained their top positions in the absence of Western automakers.

The report highlighted that the share of electric vehicles had grown, reaching 1.5% in Q1 2024. It added that vehicle demand was stimulated by state support measures.

The AEB Automobile Manufacturers says it believes that the market will reach and possibly exceed 1.3 million new cars this year.

According to data (citing ‘PPK’), sales of new cars in March this year amounted to 150,640 units, 102% more than in March 2023.

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Total sales of new passenger cars and LCVs in Q1 2024 amounted to 249,118 units ‘excluding alternative supply channels’.

Including so-called alternative supply channels, that figure totals 332,898 units.

Chinese SUVs see surge

While not included in the top five brands, Great Wall Motors’ Tank, an SUV, saw a 5034% increase, with 6,623 sales in January to March 2024, up from 129 for the same period in 2023. 

Tank entered the Russian market in 2022. It was reported by Autostat that last year, 13,941 Tank 300 and Tank 500 vehicles were sold, with an even distribution by models.

This year, it is expected new modifications and new models will appear.

A new version of the flagship Tank 500 Urban SUV with a 7-seat cabin layout and hybrid installation started sales in Russia in February.

A new brand emerges – Solaris

A new domestic brand has arrived in Russia. AGR Automotive Group (formerly Volkswagen Group Rus) has launched its Solaris brand. It is a newcomer to the domestic market, apparently continuing to make Hyundai Motor Group models after HMG left. In January to March this year, some 750 vehicles were sold under the Solaris brand name.

According to Russian news agency TASS, Solaris vehicles are available in four models, the Solaris HS five-seat sedan, Solaris HC crossover, the Solaris KRS sedan, and the Solaris KRX cross hatchback.

Production started last month and is taking place at the former Hyundai plant (Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Rus LLC), in St Petersburg, following its acquisition by AGR in January this year, Interfax reports.

While AGR did not disclose the conditions of the deal, South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo reported that a deal price was approved at a symbolic 10,000 rubles (approximately US$100).

Chairman of the Automobile Manufacturers Committee, Alexey Kalitsev said: “The first quarter was marked by the launch of local production at factories that had been idle recently. The emergence of new brands expands the choice options for customers. We look forward to the appearance of new brands in AEB statistics.”