Did General Motors damage the reputation of the Chevrolet brand in Russia when it withdrew it from the market in March of last year? Russia’s Trade and Industry Minister, Denis Manturov, believes so.
While commenting on Chevy’s rumored return to Russia, Manturov said that Chevrolet would have substantial ground to make up in the country after last year’s pullback, which significantly damaged the brand’s reputation.
But the RAAD, or the Russian Association of Auto Dealers, is less pessimistic, saying that criticism voiced by Manturov and others is exaggerated and unfounded. It also pointed to the brand’s competitive pricing that made it popular among Russian buyers.
In September, reports from the Russia and CIS area stated that GM is planning to reintroduce Chevrolet back to Russia by having the vehicles produced by a third party in Kazakhstan. RAAD anticipants roughly 30,000 Chevrolet sales in its first year of returning to the country with such core models as the Cruze, Captiva and Aveo (Sonic). Hyundai and Kia are expected to be primary rivals.
General Motors announced plans to withdraw its Chevrolet and Opel brands from Russia in March of 2015. The move came as a surprise to many, since Russia was projected to be among the top three global markets poised for significant sales volume growth by the middle of the next decade. Even so, GM made the decision as new vehicle sales started to free fall in the face of an economic downturn caused by sanctions from the West.
In September, sales of new passenger cars and LCVs in Russia decreased by nearly 11 percent year-over-year, according to data released by the Moscow based AEB. A total of 125,568 light vehicles were sold during the month. In the first nine months of the year, some 1,020,932 units were sold, representing a 14.4 percent decrease over the same period in 2015.