The Southfield, Mich.-based auto data provider notes that Russia ranked fourth in auto sales last year behind Germany, Italy and the U.K. Demand has grown from 1 million units in 2002 to 2.35 million in 2007.
Polk says market share for Lada, Russia’s top-selling brand, will fall below 20% by 2010 from 27% last year. Lada controlled 70% of the Russian auto market in 2002. Russia is already the biggest European market for Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota and General Motors’ Chevrolet brand. As sales stagnate in Europe’s mature auto markets, European OEMs will turn to Russia for growth, Polk says.
From South Korea, Carlos Ghosn added that global automakers must increasingly focus on emerging markets such as Russia.
“No car manufacturer can ignore these markets,” Ghosn told students at Seoul’s Korea University, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The Russia market, meanwhile, expanded 25% last year, he said according to the report. Ghosn said Russia would surpass Germany in the next two years as Europe’s largest car market.
“So you cannot ignore Russia,” he said. “Nobody can ignore Russia.”