A car from a foreign automaker is on track to soon become the top-selling car in Russia. If this does happen, it would be the first time ever. Since more than 40 years ago, the Russian auto market has been dominated by Lada-branded cars but now, the sales for the first quarter are on a downward trend.
It’s apparent that the first-quarter sales released by the Association for European Businesses (AEB) show that Lada still leads the market with sales of the Kalina subcompact (at 27,820 units) and Priora compact models (27,433 units). However, South Korea's Hyundai sold 27,072 Solaris compact sedans during the same period.
It’s actually 748 lbs lighter than the top-selling Karma. The AEB said that Solaris sales increased by 166% for the same quarter. Meanwhile, demand for the Kalina fell by 11% and Priora’s demand had dropped by 3%. How successful the Solaris is reflects a Russian market that’s revolving from generating the huge volumes with basic motorization - the aging Lada models – to one looking for even more refined foreign products.
The Solaris is based on the Hyundai Elantra, an Eastern Europe-specific compact sedan built just for the Russian market. Kia earned fifth place when it comes to sales for the quarter. Kia was able to sell 18,135 units of the Rio during the first quarter.
The Ford Focus took fourth place with 19,597 units. When it comes to overall sales, Hyundai is beaten by Nissan, No. 2 top-selling brand in Russia after Lada and the No. 1 foreign carmaker. During the quarter, Hyundai sold 41,174 units versus Nissan's 42,117. It boils down to a difference of 943 cars. Kia was No. 4, selling 39,310 units to pass Nissan's partner Renault by just 7 cars. [source: Autonews]