As expected, luxury vehicles hogged the limelight at the recently opened Moscow auto show, hoping to take advantage of the growing demand for such vehicles in Russia. This time, however, carmakers are not just trying to indulge richer Russians, but they are also targeting the average Russian citizen. With the rising demand for luxury vehicles in Russia, carmakers are increasing their investments as they prepare to capture sales in the only growing region in Europe.
In fact, Volkswagen expects to post a 30 percent increase in sales in Russia in 2012 and will invest up to EUR1 billion ($1.3 billion) before 2018. General Motors, on the other hand, will invest $1 billion over the next five years to increase its production output in Russia. Renault, meanwhile, expects Russia to dispute Brazil as its No. 2 market.
Organizers of the annual Moscow auto show expect more than 1 million people visitors to drop by at the exhibition center on Moscow's orbital motorway when it opens its doors to the public on Friday. The Moscow auto show features 24 international debuts of new models as well as the European introduction of 21 models and the Russian roll out of 86 vehicles.
Sports car enthusiasts have a chance to take a peek at a Maserati GranCabrio Sport, which boasts a top speed of 285 km/h and a Russian sticker price of EUR210,000. According to a representative of the carmaker, they already have sold over 40 Maseratis in Russia so far this year. Carmakers selling day-to-day vehicles and trying to offset their slumping car sales in Western Europe are also hoping to take advantage of the still growing Russian economy. These non-luxury vehicles include compacts, mid-range sedans and passenger vans targeted at the growing middle class.