May Sales of Premium Vehicles Increased Substantially in Russia

Over the past five months, premium automakers have seen sales volumes increase sharply in Russia as the market has begun to recover from the worldwide economic crisis of the last two years.

According to the Association of European Businesses, AEB), Russian sales totals for all premium brands rose 54% to 8,201 units in May. Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche and Volvo all saw their sales increase by triple digits in May, and eight of the other nine premium carmakers saw double-digit increases in their sales compared with the same month last year.

BMW’s Russia sales for the last five months increased 16% over the same period in 2009. The German automaker saw monthly sales in May climb 52% to 1,680 compared with sales volumes in May of 2009.

Audi was the second best-selling premium brand in Russia last month, with sales of 1,633 units.  Mercedes-Benz came in a close third with monthly sales of 1,625.

Other premium automakers to see sales increases in May included Toyota’s Lexus brand with sales of 818 vehicles. Land Rover saw its monthly sales climb by 19% to 614 units compared with May 2009. Porsche, Jaguar, Mini, Saab and Alfa Romeo finished out the list of 13 premium carmakers to post sales increases in May. Chrysler Group’s Cadillac brand posted a monthly sales decrease of 42% down to only 75 vehicles. For the past five month period, Cadillac sales in Russia fell 50% to 408 units compared with the same five month period last year.

Industry-wide, Russia’s new car sales in May rose 31% year-to-year with 157,937 vehicles being sold.

Russia’s vehicle scrapping initiative has helped drive auto sales higher, but the rise in sales of premium vehicles is widely considered a more accurate indicator of the country’s improving economic health. In April, the Russian government began a new incentive program which offers new car buyers the equivalent of $1,582 when they trade in their old ten-year-old or older vehicle. An additional $340 million in additional funds will be funneled into the program in the near future.

The program has boosted sales for domestic automaker Landa. The company finished last month with four of its vehicles in the list of five bestselling autos in Russia.

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