The exit of Western and Japanese companies has provided an opportunity to rising industry players © Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov

Chinese auto makers have embarked on a major expansion in the Russian market and are expected to reach a 60% share of total sales this year, the newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday, citing car-dealer chain Autodom.

According to the report, in the first half of 2022 the share of Chinese car brands in the Russian market stood at 3.7%, a figure that rose to almost 33% in the second half. Overall car sales in Russia last year decreased by 58.8% to 687,000 units, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) calculated.

Chery, Haval and Geely were named the most popular Chinese car brands in Russia. Their share in the country’s market will continue to grow in 2023, according to the CEO of Autodom Andrey Olkhovsky.

Meanwhile, the Association of Russian Automobile Dealers told Izvestia that it expects around 785,000 new car sales in Russia this year, of which at least 250,000 (32%) will be Chinese made.

According to market expert Viktor Kondrashin, the lack of competition leads to an increase in prices for models such as Geely and Haval. He told the newspaper that “new models of Chinese crossovers currently cost the same as Volvo or Skoda two years ago.”

Kondrashin believes that domestic car prices could moderate when deliveries of automobiles from Iran start to arrive.

The popularity of Chinese automobiles in Russia has been rising amid the exodus of European, American, and Japanese brands. Many automakers found it difficult to continue operations in the country due to logistical disruptions resulting from Western sanctions, particularly after deliveries of cars and spare parts to Russia were stopped.

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