Issue: Feb 2008


Polk Research Shows Russia To Become Largest Automotive Market in Europe by 2010



by John Larkin

R. L. Polk & Co. is forecasting Russia will become the largest automotive sales market for new cars in Europe by 2010. While the larger European markets remain stagnant, the demand for cars in Russia is growing. In 2007, new car registrations in Russia exceeded the two-million mark for the first time. These 2.35 million new registrations put Russia in fourth place in Europe behind Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

These results are contained in the current Russian automobile forecast developed by Polk's Essen-based market research and consulting operations.

Demand for cars in Russia has been strong. Approximately one million new cars were sold each year through 2002. During the last five years, demand for cars has grown by approximately 140 percent. Future growth is estimated to be approximately 60 percent which will result in approximately 3.7 million new registrations by 2010. This registration level exceeds every other European country today.

Within Russia, Lada's dominance as leading domestic automaker has been declining. New vehicle registrations attributable to Lada have decreased from approximately 70 percent in 2002 to 27 percent in 2007. It is estimated that by 2010 more than 80 percent of all new registrations will come from manufacturers other than Lada.

"A number of manufacturers are now selling more new cars in Russia than in any other European country," said Ulrich Winzen, chief analyst, forecasting and consulting for Polk Germany. "For Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Kia and Chevrolet, Russia represents the strongest European market in terms of sales."

Polk market researchers forecast the current demand to continue for the coming years. With stagnant sales in the traditional markets, German and European automotive manufacturers will be looking to the Russian marketplace to grow their car sales.

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