Domestic or foreign – which cars do Russians prefer?

Nov 25, 2021

Sber subsidiary SberInsurance has learned that more than half of Russians (53%) have at least one car in their household, of which 22% are domestic cars and 78% are foreign cars, after surveying the residents of 37 Russian cities with a population of over 500,000.

Foreign cars are most common in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, with almost all car owners in these cities preferring them (98% and 97%, respectively). The foreign auto industry is also the preferred choice for residents of Irkutsk and Moscow (91% each) and St. Petersburg (89%). Tolyatti (50%), Ufa (36%), Naberezhnye Chelny (36%), Ulyanovsk (35%), and Penza (34%) have the most domestic-made vehicles.

The most households with cars reside in Moscow (68%), Ufa and St. Petersburg (67% each), and Tyumen and Krasnoyarsk (64% each). Residents of Grozny and Makhachkala (42% each), Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk (45% each), and Sevastopol (39%) use cars the least.

At the same time, 41% of Russian families have one car, and 13% have two or more. Most of these families live in Moscow (23%), Krasnoyarsk (20%), Tyumen (19%), Vladivostok, Tomsk, and Omsk and Rostov-on-Don (17% each).

The top five foreign cars in the opinions of car owners include Toyota, which is represented in the fleet of 9% of drivers in Russia on average, Kia, Renault, and Nissan (6% each), and Ford (5%). In the Far East and Siberia, car owners generally prefer the Japanese brands Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Toyota leads by a large margin: the brand is especially popular with motorists in Khabarovsk (26%), Vladivostok (25%), and Irkutsk (20%).

The most popular cars in Moscow are by Kia (8%), Ford (7%), Toyota and Mercedes (6% each), Renault, Nissan, and Hyundai (5% each). In St. Petersburg, the favorites are much the same: Kia (7%), Ford (8%), Renault (6%), Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes (5% each).

In addition to Renault and Ford in the top five, the list of foreign car brands that Russians prefer also includes Chevrolet, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, and Opel. These brands are represented by an average of 2-4% depending on the region, with the exception of Makhachkala, where Mercedes is preferred by 11% of car owners and BMW by 7%. Suzuki, Lexus, Volvo, Peugeot, and Mitsubishi are less popular among Russians, at 1-2% each.

As for domestic brands, 19% of Russian cars are made by LADA and AvtoVAZ. They are most frequently found on the roads of Tolyatti (37%), Saratov (24%), Orenburg (23%), Samara, Naberezhnye Chelny, Penza, Ulyanovsk, Volgograd, and Kirov (22% each), and Izhevsk and Makhachkala (21% each). UAZ is less common, preferred by 3% of Russian motorists on average. Residents of Ulyanovsk and Irkutsk are the exception, where UAZ cars are driven by 8% and 5% of car owners, respectively.

The average car owned by a resident in a large Russian city is 6.3 years old. Drivers in Kazan (4.9 years old), Izhevsk (5.1), Samara (5.3), St. Petersburg (5.4), and Moscow (5.5) drive the newest cars, while the oldest cars belong to residents of Novosibirsk (7.8), Khabarovsk (7.5), Vladivostok (7.4), and Barnaul and Novokuznetsk (7.3 each).

The average engine power of a car owned by a Russian resident is 127 hp, but people aged 30-50 prefer their car to be around 133 hp. The most powerful cars can be found in Vladivostok, where the average engine power is 157 hp, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, and Khabarovsk (149 hp each), and Irkutsk (146 hp). Residents of Tolyatti (102 hp), Naberezhnye Chelny and Ufa (110 hp), Penza (115 hp), and Izhevsk (116 hp) prefer their cars to have less horsepower.

Denis Kuzmin, director of Protective Products and Services, Sberbank:

“The study showed that high-income households aged 30-50 and where the members have university degrees have more than one car with higher quality features. These people tend to be very active, value their time, and do not want to waste it on protracted formal procedures. SberInsurance recently launched its own MTPL insurance with excellent service and reliability, which means that the company will help quickly resolve issues related to road accidents. Car owners may also be interested in a CNC policy with a 30% discount for drivers with no losses under their previous policy.”