General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand, after three consecutive years as the No. 1 foreign brand in Russia, fell to third place in January 2011 behind Kia and Renault. Russia's traditional, and protracted, New Year celebration brings on a high cost on automakers yearly as the country shuts down for up to two weeks.
Russians take as many days off as they can during the holidays and many businesses, including car dealerships, close.
According to data supplied by the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Russia, although the U.S. automaker was up 49 percent in January 2011 over a year earlier to 7,304 passenger vehicles, it was down 5,000 unit sales or 40 percent when compared with December 2010.
Kia’s January 2011 sales were essentially unchanged from December 2010, letting it slip past Chevrolet by 700 units. Renault was down 3,600 units from December 2010, but still won over Chevrolet by 510 units in January 2011.
While Kia and Renault include light-commercial vehicles in their sales counts, Chevrolet doesn’t. According to the AEB data, Chevrolet finished the full year 12,000 units ahead of Kia and 16,000 units ahead of Renault. In December 2010, Chevrolet sold 12,552 cars, up 35 percent over a year earlier, while Kia's sales dropped 4 percent to 7,690. [via autonews - sub. required]