Eastern European and Russian markets demonstrate steady growth in 2017

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Car registrations in Eastern Europe climbed 14% in the first six months of the year, reaching 698,900 units, figures from JATO reveal.

Cars in showroom

Eastern Europe recorded a positive start to 2017.

The latest registration data showed Eastern Europe (Eastern Europe) and Russian car industries (excluding Turkey) grew in the first half of 2017 with new registrations for passenger and LCVs up 14.1% over 2016 in Eastern Europe, with 698,900 units registered, and 7% in Russia to 720,000. For the same period, Turkey saw a drop of registrations by 8% to 400,000.

Romania led the Eastern Europe region with a 26.2% increase rising to 45,000 registrations. Poland, the largest market in the Eastern Europe region, recorded 15.5% growth, registering 277,700 units.

JATO’s statistics show strongest demand in the Eastern Europe region was for passenger cars, with registrations increasing by 15.5% to 626,100 units and the fastest rising SUV sub-category increasing by 32%, to a 27% market share. Compact and subcompact segments continued their popularity in the region too, with both recording double-digit increases.

Petrol vehicle registrations grew by 20%, accounting for 59% of the total market. Diesel cars accounted for 37% of the market total, growing by just 5%, while AFVs now represent 2% of the market share yet showed a sharp rise of 112%. Overall market share decreased by just 3 percentage points compared to 2016.

Brands and Models

According to JATO, VW Group dominated Eastern Europe with growth in particular thanks to the Skoda brand with 104,317 sales, compared to Volkswagen’s 64,868 sales, although overall the VW Group lost some of its market share compared to 2016. Renault-Nissan sales came in second place thanks to the combination of Dacia (40,034 sales) and Renault (36,899 sales) brands. PSA saw growth after the acquisition of Opel, with 39,310 sales, while Toyota remained popular with 42,569 sales.

Manufacturing presence in the region played a significant role in sales, with Hyundai-Kia gaining presence particularly in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with a market share of 23.8%. Kia Rio registrations increased by 16.4% to 51,128, scoring top position in the model ranking.

Following a similar pattern to its Western European cousin, the VW Golf, the Skoda Octavia leads in terms of total registrations. However, as with the Golf, the Octavia lost overall market share with 49,228 registrations.

Turkey

More than 400k cars and LCVs were registered in Turkey, demonstrating a decline of 8.3% compared to last year, while passenger cars totalled 305,700 units.

According to JATO, an increase of consumption taxes applied to cars costing more than 40,000 Lira are to blame for the decline in registrations in this market. Midsize, executive and luxury saloon sales declined by 23% and compact, midsize and large SUV registrations declined by 9.5%.

In stark contrast, small SUV registrations increased by 8.5% despite Turkey being one of the only global markets where SUVs don’t dominate. JATO states this is likely to be due to high taxes that imported SUVs incur.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.