Car sales in Russia experienced a remarkable increase of 168.8% year-on-year in July, showing signs of recovery after a significant slump in 2022, as per the data released on Friday. The surge in sales comes shortly after President Vladimir Putin urged state bodies to shift away from using foreign-made cars in favor of domestic ones.
The Russian auto industry heavily relied on investments, equipment, and parts from abroad, making it vulnerable to the impact of Western sanctions resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Consequently, car sales plummeted by 59% in 2022, leading several foreign automakers to exit the Russian market.
According to the analytical agency Autostat, a total of 95,654 vehicles were sold in July, marking a substantial increase from 82,407 units sold in June and a significant improvement from the meager 35,584 vehicles sold in July 2022.
During a meeting with representatives from the manufacturing industry on Thursday, President Putin mentioned that some ministries had sought permission to continue purchasing foreign-made cars. However, he adamantly advocated for the exclusive use of domestic cars by all officials in the country. He emphasized the need to support the development of domestic brands, cars, and other products.
It’s worth noting that President Putin himself drove a Mercedes-Benz across the Crimean Bridge, which connects southern Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula, in December. This event occurred just two months after an explosion had damaged the bridge, showcasing it as one of the Kremlin chief’s prominent infrastructure projects.
Besides Russian carmakers, Chinese companies are also experiencing a rise in their sales in Russia. They are utilizing factories left behind by automakers like Renault and Nissan to assemble vehicles.
In the domestic market, Russia’s Lada brand holds the top position, boasting a market share of 32.6% for January-June, up from 21.6% the previous year.