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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Big Carmakers See Soaring Sales in Q1

First-Quarter Sales
Source: Reuters

Sales of almost all big carmakers soared in Russia in the first quarter of 2005 as growing incomes enabled drivers to ditch locally made Ladas in favor of flashier foreign models.

Data for the first quarter from major carmakers and dealers, calculated on a year-on-year basis and compiled Thursday, showed significant changes among leading sellers.

South Korean and Japanese producers ate into the Lada market due to their low costs at local assembly plants, relatively cheap models and prices set in dollars, as opposed to euros by the European producers.

The leading position went to Uz-Daewoo, a joint venture between South Korea's Daewoo and the government of Uzbekistan, which only came in fifth at the end of the first quarter of last year.

The venture was excluded from a global deal when General Motors took a majority in some of the assets of Daewoo a few years ago. Uz-Daewoo is still run by the Uzbek government.

Sales of Uz-Daewoo models Nexia and Matiz jumped to 15,199 cars in January to March 2005, from 6,112 cars a year ago.

Sales by major foreign carmakers in Russia are expected to rise by 40 percent this year to between 500,000 and 510,000 new cars after leaping 80 percent in 2004, analysts estimate.

South Korea's Hyundai, an absolute leader in 2004 and ranked third in the first quarter of last year, came in second in the first quarter of 2005 with sales more than doubling to 14,560 cars. Some of its cars are assembled in Russia.

Japanese firms Mitsubishi and Toyota were ranked third and fourth, respectively, with sales rising 30 percent to 40 percent mainly due to dollar weakness and to their models in Russia's most popular price segment, between $10,000 and $20,000 per car.

They were followed by Ford, which has a big assembly plant in Russia, Japan's Nissan, and France's Renault, the only European producer in the top 10.

Russia's demand for cars is expected to rise to 2 million to 2.5 million vehicles annually by 2010 from 1.76 million in 2004, spurred by economic growth and rising incomes, analysts estimate.

Output at AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest carmaker and the producer of outdated Ladas, fell 4.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2005 to 165,688 cars.

This number included AvtoVAZ's venture with General Motors to produce the Chevy Niva sport utility vehicle. There was no separate figure to indicate whether the venture's sales rose or fell.

GM also began marketing its Chevrolet model in Russia last year, and its sales rose more than 10 times year on year.