In June 2023, Russians issued 73.4 thousand loans for the purchase of cars, both new and used. Compared to May, the indicator increased by 2.9% and reached its highest level since 2021. Similar statistics on Tuesday, June 18, were published by specialists of the National Bureau of Credit Histories (NBCH).
"In turn, compared to the same period last year, the number of car loans issued in June 2023 increased even more significantly - by 81.5% (in June 2022 - 40.4 thousand units). This growth is due to a radical drop in the issuance of car loans in the spring - early summer of last year, "the organization emphasized.
According to the company's estimates, in February 2022, Russian banks issued 63.3 thousand and 66.5 thousand car loans, respectively, and in March the value fell four times to 16.2 thousand.
"The growth in the issuance of car loans in recent years is due to the resumption at the beginning of the year of the state program of preferential car loans, as well as an increase in sales of new cars from friendly countries and used cars," explained Alexei Volkov, Marketing Director of the NBCH.
It should be noted that the initiative for preferential issuance of loans for cars was launched in July last year. The Russian authorities assumed that the program would be available to Russians until the end of 2022. However, the Ministry of Industry and Trade decided to extend the action for another two years.
Currently, some categories of citizens can receive loans on preferential terms - health workers, educators, participants in the NWO and members of their families. For them, the discount on the payment of the down payment on the loan is 20% of the cost of the car (25% for residents of the Far Eastern Federal District). The car should be assembled in Russia and cost no more than 2 million rubles. In turn, the discount on Russian electric vehicles reaches 25%, but not more than 625 thousand rubles.
According to the NBCH, most of the loans in June were issued in Moscow (4.51 thousand), the Moscow region (4.09 thousand), St. Petersburg (3.46 thousand), the Republic of Tatarstan (3.31 thousand) and the Krasnodar Territory (3.12 thousand). At the same time, experts identified the most significant increase in the rate of issuing car loans in the Tyumen region (+ 16.1% compared to May) and the Altai Territory (+ 12.6%), as well as in the Orenburg (+ 11.6%) and Chelyabinsk (+ 10.3%) regions.
In part, a significant impetus to the Russian car market was given by the growing interest of Russians in buying cars with an escape, experts believe. In the first half of 2023, motorists purchased 2.75 million used cars, which is more than a quarter (+26.8%) higher than the result of January-June 2022, according to AUTOSTAT data. In June alone, citizens purchased over 500 thousand used cars, and compared to May, the volume of the segment increased by more than 40%.
"The effect of last year's low base played a role, when the market actually froze. Moreover, the transition of some customers to the secondary market due to price increases and unwillingness to buy a car from China affected. Also, cars that come through parallel imports are most often registered to individuals and sold as used, although in fact these are new cars, "Ivan Ananiev, an expert at Avto.ru magazine, explained in a conversation with RT.
Although automakers from unfriendly states began to stop selling and producing new cars in Russia, they are being replaced by foreign cars from other countries. So, from January to June, about 227 thousand cars were imported into the country, which is more than three times higher than the same period last year. According to AUTOSTAT, most often cars are supplied from China, their share in June exceeded 75%.
Chinese cars are now present in almost all market segments, except for the most premium, Ananiev added. According to him, in terms of quality, they are at a fairly decent level, and the assortment from China as a whole covers almost all the requests of motorists.
"The cars look good, are richly equipped, drive well, and you can turn a blind eye to some nuances. With the expensive segment, the situation is worse - what the Chinese call premium does not yet reach the level familiar to the expensive car market, but in general it is a matter of time, "the specialist is sure.
- AGN "Moscow"
- © Avilov Alexander
A similar point of view is shared by the founder of the School of Practical Investment, Fyodor Sidorov. According to the expert, at one time, cars from China gained a reputation as unreliable and quickly breaking cars, since ten years ago they did not differ in high-quality assembly and elaborate parts. However, today the situation has changed dramatically, the interlocutor of RT believes.
"They took into account their own mistakes and adopted the positive experience of global concerns, in which Chinese capital participates. That is why now their auto industry has been able to correct its reputation. Chinese brands offer quite decent cars at fairly affordable prices, "the expert emphasized.
According to experts, a further increase in the share of car imports from friendly countries, along with the restoration of lending, will help the market recover faster from last year's losses. According to the baseline forecast of AUTOSTAT, from January to December of this year, sales of new passenger cars may increase by 37% - up to 860 thousand units. Under the pessimistic scenario, the indicator will grow by only 29% - up to 810 thousand, and under the optimistic scenario - by 44%, to 900 thousand, the organization suggests.
For the remaining six months, the Russian car market may, if not return to pre-crisis values, then at least approach them, Sidorov suggests. The growth of the market can be facilitated by concessional lending programs or government co-financing initiatives.
"In addition, the reduction of customs duties on imported cars would have a positive effect. Moreover, state support for domestic automakers would increase the production of Russian brands with their subsequent introduction to the market, "Sergei Ramaninov, an analyst at Markets Money Vlast, told RT.