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Russians embrace Chinese cars


As the exodus of Western carmakers narrows options for Russian consumers, Chinese automakers are filling the gap, forcing Russians to overcome their reluctance to embrace Chinese brands and stomach higher prices.
Chinese brands such as Haval, Chery and Geely now account for almost 40% of Russia’s new car sales, data from analytical agency Autostat and consulting company PPK showed, up from less than 10% in January-February of 2022, pouncing on the opportunity left by the exit of firms such as Renault, Nissan and Mercedes.
But there are teething problems. Reuters spoke to several Russian car buyers – individuals and dealerships – who perceived the quality of some Chinese cars to be lower than Western rivals and industry experts said Chinese manufacturers needed to enhance their reputation even as their market share soars.
Stepan, 28, who has increasingly driven Chinese cars when using car-sharing services, is among those that need convincing. Among his complaints was the smoothness of the drive.
“I managed to buy a Skoda in 2022. If you want my honest opinion, the difference (with Chinese cars) is massive,” he told Reuters at Moscow’s Favorit Motors dealership.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2023.
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