In March, the Ministry of Industry and Trade expanded the list of parallel imports by another 12 car brands.
Parallel import activity peaked in winter. According to various estimates, from November to March, up to 20,000 new cars were imported into Russia this way. Mostly from China. But in the spring, the flow of reports about the appearance of really expected new products on sale and the arrival of significant batches – from 100 pieces or more dried up. Almost everything that was brought in in the winter is available in dealerships now. Sales cannot be described by the term “torn off with hands” – they take it, but by no means sweep it off the shelves.
So, parallel import stalled? But what about the expansion of the list of brands allowed for import in this way? Will we see Renault, Hyundai, Dacia and Opel cars?
Import in numbers
There are no full-fledged statistics on para-import yet, but the general proportions can be estimated. The AUTOSTAT agency shared the results of the analysis of the issuance of electronic titles. In January, 5,096 new cars were brought to Russia under the parallel import scheme: 2,081 of them directly from the countries where they were produced, 1,821 from Kazakhstan, 304 from Kyrgyzstan, 257 from Armenia.
In total, about 45 thousand new cars appeared in January. The bulk are those that were released from us or imported in finished form by companies that sell officially. About 10% are “gray” imports, that is, neither official nor parallel. Some individuals somewhere buy, bring and sell. Last year, out of 443,000 imported cars, half – 221,000 – were delivered by individuals. True, there are few new cars among them, second-hand ones dominate. The largest source of new cars “gray” imports, apparently, the UAE.
From all this it follows that during the winter heyday, parallel imports provided no more than 12% of our market for new cars. And there are no signs of growth. On the contrary, the Russian Automobile Dealers Association believes that para-imports will gradually move into the gray zone. For a banal reason: customs clearance for individuals is easier and cheaper than for legal entities. Well, and also because of the emergence of new interference under pressure from Western “partners”. In particular, Türkiye regularly restricts the transit of sanctioned goods.
It’s all about the price
With the introduction of sanctions and the departure of “unfriendly” companies from Russia, the price niche from 1 to 2 million rubles was orphaned. Previously, for this price they bought under a million cars a year, including taxi companies.
Polo, Rio, Solaris, Logan, Rapid, Duster and other relatively inexpensive and best-selling models filled the niche. Now they are gone (for the previous price), and Ladas, Niva, UAZs and five of the simplest crossovers of Chinese origin live here.
Expectations that parallel imports would cover the deficit in this particular niche did not come true. And, probably, they could not justify themselves – the import of a new car under this scheme almost doubles its price. Dealers are interested in the highest margin, it is preferable for them to import less and sell more expensive. Roughly speaking, it is more efficient to sell ten Mercedes than one hundred Logans. Therefore, almost everything that is brought by parallel imports (and “gray” imports too) is in the price sector from 2 to 5 million rubles. Not available to all buyers.
And why import something like that for 2–3 million rubles in a roundabout way, if offers at this price are now in bulk thanks to the official work of many Chinese companies?
WHAT IS SHIPPED AND WHERE
Hyundai Bayon is a front-wheel drive crossover, slightly more compact than the Creta. Known in Europe as the Hyundai Kona, in China as the Hyundai Encino. It comes to us from Kazakhstan, where it is assembled by the SKD method. Price: from 2.2 million rubles.
Atmospheric engine 1.4 (100 hp) in combination with a seven-speed robot. The version with MCP does not attract our dealers. A normal car, except for the robot: how long will it last?
Hyundai BayonSuzuki Ciaz
Our dealers still have some moves to India. In China, this car is called Suzuki Alivio, but it was the Indian version that came to us – Suzuki Ciaz, assembled at the Maruti Suzuki India joint venture. The sellers threw out the word Maruti from the official name of the model. Price: 1.8–2.0 million rubles.
Based on the SX4, simple and unpretentious. Gasoline aspirated 1.5 (105 hp) with hydraulic automatic borrowed from Suzuki Jimny. Theoretically – an excellent combination in terms of reliability and resource.
Do you miss the Tiguan? Here is the Volkswagen Tayron, the brainchild of the Chinese JV FAW-Volkswagen. In fact, a converted Tiguan with front-wheel drive.
The engine-box combination is painfully familiar from Volkswagens and Skodas – a supercharged 1.4 TSI and a DSG7 robot. The complete set of all cars brought to Russia is the only one close to the maximum. Price – from 3.4 million rubles.
Volkswagen TayronToyota Advance
A simplified version of the Daihatsu Xenia/Toyota Avanza for the Southeast Asian market is the Toyota Rush. Made in Indonesia. Price: from 2.35 million rubles.
Almost in all our salons it is positioned as an SUV, although in reality it is a compact van (a seven-seater saloon is possible), albeit an unusual one. Frame body, rear-wheel drive with a continuous axle, petrol aspirated 1.5 (104 hp), an archaic four-speed automatic and a ground clearance of 220 mm.
Whether the Logans will return, read on the next page.