Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors seized the top spot in the Russian car market last month, beating homegrown brand Avtovaz.
According to industry data on Friday, Hyundai and Kia sold 16,754 and 17,023 vehicles, respectively, in Russia last month. Avtovaz, Russia’ largest carmaker, fell to second, selling 30,114 units.
It was the first time that the two Korean siblings outsold Avtovaz in monthly sales on the Russian auto giant’s home turf.
Market shares of Hyundai and Kia soared to 16.9 percent in June, which also outpaced Avtovaz with 15.1 percent.
Until 2011, the sales gap between the Korean and Russian carmakers reached some 330,000 vehicles annually. But the discrepancy has been reduced to some 9,300 vehicles this year, largely driven by the gradual expansion of Hyundai’s production in Russia in recent years.
Last month, Russian car sales fell 17.4 percent, hit hard by a prolonged market slowdown following ever-rising consumer prices and the Ukraine crisis.
While key rivals, including Avtovaz, saw their sales decrease more than 10 percent, Hyundai and Kia posted a moderate decline of 2 percent to continue their recent sales momentum there.
The strong sales in Russia are currently led by two compact cars ― the Hyundai Solaris (Accent in Korea) and Kia Rio (Pride) ― that are produced at the Russian factories.
The Solaris and Rio sold 10,565 and 8,696 vehicles last month, respectively, becoming the two best-selling models among foreign car brands in the market.
“One of key success factors is the firm’s effective response to the market demands, based on the local production and the expanding dealership network,” said a Hyundai official.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)