July 25, 2024
Electric & Hybrid Cars

Chinese domination in the Russian EV market leads to a spike in Zeekr’s sales

Russian EV sales have surged in the past year, with Chinese carmakers leading the way in the country’s growing electric vehicle sector.

Chinese car manufacturers have secured over half of Russia’s car market following the withdrawal of Western competitors, who left after Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine in February 2022.

While concerns about Chinese dominance in the EV sector are rising in Europe and the United States, Russia is embracing Chinese brands across all automotive sectors to support its car industry.

Between May 2023 and April 2024, more than 20,500 new EVs were sold in Russia, a significant increase of about 350% compared to the previous year, with Chinese brands accounting for over half of the sales.

Russian carmakers only sold fewer than 4,000 new EVs during that period, while the overall sales of passenger cars reached 1.28 million.

The lack of charging infrastructure across Russia’s vast territory, coupled with the country’s reliance on its oil and gas resources, has hindered the development of the EV market. However, more EVs were sold in the last year than in the entire decade before.

Leading the EV Sales in Russia

Despite having no official representation in Russia, Zeekr, a Chinese premium brand, has emerged as the top-selling EV brand in the country, with over 8,000 cars sold since June last year.

The interest in EVs among Russians is growing as more charging stations are being built, consumers realize the fuel savings, and dealers enhance maintenance services.

According to Irina Frank, head of the Frank-Auto dealership in Moscow, only about 2% of Russians currently use electric cars, but she predicts this figure could rise to more than 25% by 2035.

A market entry by Zeekr into Russia could further accelerate growth, noted Vadim Merzlikin, marketing director of a dealership selling Zeekr models.

Most EV buyers in Russia are affluent, with premium cars being the most widely available category. Approximately 40% of EV owners have charging facilities at home.

Zeekr’s compact SUV, the Zeekr X, is priced around 4 million roubles ($46,136), similar to European prices.

Other Russian EV models include the Evolute i-Space and the Moskvich 3e, with the Lada e-Largus from Avtovaz still in development.

Changing Perception of Chinese Cars

Despite initial prejudice, Chinese EV brands like Zeekr are gaining dominance in the Russian market, outperforming Russian EV models.

The share of Chinese brands in the Russian market has jumped from less than 10% to over 50% in the past two years, with growing acceptance among consumers.

While there are challenges with service for Chinese cars, such as limited dealerships and service centers, attitudes towards Chinese vehicles are shifting positively.

According to a survey, over half of Russians are now open to buying a Chinese car, up from just 6.4% in 2017.

As the popularity of Chinese cars increases, more Russians are becoming ambassadors for these brands.



Q: Are Chinese EVs reliable in Russia?

A: Despite initial challenges, Chinese EVs are gaining popularity in Russia, with increasing sales and acceptance among consumers.



The rise of Chinese electric vehicles in the Russian market signifies a shift in consumer preferences and market dynamics. With increasing sales and acceptance, Chinese brands like Zeekr are leading the way in the country’s evolving EV sector.

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