LADA was the best-selling vehicle on the domestic market in May followed by Chinese brands, data shows Visitors explore a Moskvich 3e electric car on sale at a showroom of the official dealer centre of the FASTAR company for sales and service of new cars, in Novosibirsk, Russia. © Sputnik / Alexandr Kryazhev

Car sales in Russia are on course to recover from the impact of Western sanctions as May sales more than doubled compared to last year, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) reported on Tuesday.

Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in Russia surged by 112% year-on-year last month to 51,500 units, partially rebounding from a dramatic slump the industry faced last year.

A total of 228,500 new passenger cars and LCVs were sold in the first five months of the year in the country, which is 26% less than in the same period in 2022, according to the report.

Russian LADA was the top-selling brand in the country with 115,800 cars sold in May, representing a 72% increase from last year, the AEB said. Six of the top ten brands by market share were taken by Chinese carmakers, which continue to fill the void left by departing Western firms.

Russian car sales triple Russian car sales triple

Haval, in particular, saw its sales grow more than eightfold to 7,600 cars last month, and statistics showed that its overall sales so far this year reached 31,600 cars. Geely trailed slightly behind also with an eightfold surge in sales to 7,000 units in May and 25,900 cars in the first five months of 2023.

Russia’s automobile industry, which had been heavily reliant on foreign investment and equipment, was hit by an exodus of international manufacturers due to Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine. Sales of new cars plunged 59% last year as American, European and Japanese automakers either left the country or suspended deliveries of cars and components, halting local production indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Chinese automakers have embarked on a major expansion in the Russian market and are expected to reach a 60% share of total sales this year, according to car dealer chain Autodom. China exported over 160,000 cars to Russia last year, more than doubling its previous share of the country’s auto market.

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