Premium carmakers are enjoying a sales revival in Russia. May and five-month volumes are up sharply as the market recovers from the global economic crisis.
In May, total sales for premium brands were up 54 percent to 8,201 units, according an analysis of data from the Association of European Businesses (AEB). Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Mini recorded triple-digit increases in new-car sales last month while eight of the nine other premium brands saw sales rise by a double-digit percentage compared with the May 2009, according to the AEB.
BMW leads all premium brands in Russia after five months, followed closely by Audi and Mercedes. (See table, bottom)
Overall, Russia's May new-car sales were up 31 percent year-on-year to 157,937 units. (Click on Russia sales table, below right)
The government's car-scrapping scheme is helping, but the strength of premium-car sales is seen as an even more important indication of a broad economic recovery.
“The demand is growing not only in the budget cars segment, but in the premium segment as well. Some of the manufacturers who made conservative forecasts earlier are even short of the product now,” Martin Jahn, vice chairman of the AEB automobile manufacturers committee, said in a statement.
Through five months, Russia's new-car sales were down 5 percent to 615,665 compared with the same period last year. The AEB expects full-year sales of 1.6 million cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia this year, up from 1,465,917 cars and LCVs in 2009.
In April, the Russian government started to offer car buyers 50,000 rubles ($1,582) to trade-in cars that are at least 10 years old for new models that are built in Russia. The program is set to receive an extra $340 million from the government.
The incentive has provided a huge lift to AvtoVAZ's Lada brand, which finished the month with four cars among the country's top five sellers. (Click on Russia Top 10 table, above right)