Chinese cars in Russia - this phrase does not sound proud yet, but quite differently than a few years ago. Moreover, the share of these cars in the domestic car market is growing. So they also have their own sincere fans! They unite in clubs, create publics on social networks and are ready for heated discussions with the so-called haters, who are still talking about the Heavenly Empire's automobile industry in categories that have appeared along with the notorious "Amulets" and "Otakas". And the most interesting thing is that Chinese cars are already being transplanted not only from Russian cars, but also little by little from Korean, Japanese, and German ones. Summing up the results of 2020, the "Autopark" project tells how and why the auto industry of the Celestial Empire influenced the entire car market of the Russian Federation. We started to grow December sales of new passenger cars in Russia may slightly brighten up the overall picture, but it is clear that the total volume of sales in 2020 went into negative territory. If we take the data from January to November, then we are talking about a fall of 10.3% relative to the result of 2019. There are many reasons for this, and RG has already understood them. However, the result could have been even more deplorable if ... not for Chinese cars. Judge for yourself. Rare brands managed to stay in positive territory this year. For example, in the top 30 of all brands, only Skoda, due to the renewal of the line, managed to add 7% of sales, and Suzuki - 8%. Against this background, a number of Chinese companies showed just explosive dynamics: Haval - plus 49%, Geely and Chery - 69% each, FAW - 92%. Well, the record holder in this sense was Changan - plus 196% of the cars sold. And don't talk about a low base. This is more or less true for FAW and Changan. But Haval, Geely and Chery have grown from outsiders to strong middlings back in 2019. The total share of "Chinese" in the market of new passenger cars in Russia has almost doubled - up to 3.7%. But this is clearly not the limit. So far, the statements of automakers from the Middle Kingdom that they are ready to take 5% of the market on their own (and at least two companies have made such plans public - GAC and Haval) seem naive. But we must admit that the growth dynamics in this segment is impressive - and no one knows how it is limited. We have built networks The three main doubts at the moment about the prospects of Chinese cars in Russia are related to the quality of the cars themselves, their liquidity in the secondary market and dealer service. The segment leaders are gradually sorting out these questions. "Geely and Haval are very demanding on their dealer network and are now catching up with the leading manufacturers in terms of working with dealers. [They] quite rightly were able to take over the spinning showrooms of the Ford brand, retaining professional sales teams that very quickly retrained from sales." Ford "for the sale of Haval and Geely brands," Alexei Savostin, commercial director of Avtomir Group, told RG earlier. It should be noted that this observation is largely applicable in relation to, for example, Chery and Changan. Over the past two years, both brands have seriously revised their relations with dealers, shaken up their networks and at the moment they have practically re-formed them. So, in Changan in 2021, they no longer plan to seriously increase the number of points of sale and service, focusing on quality indicators. Actually, only middle-class and outsider Chinese brands have problems with the number of dealers and their geography. This is also because some of their partners decided to focus on working with leading brands that were actively moving away from cooperation with multi-brand car dealerships. In general, over 10 years, the number of dealerships of Chinese auto companies has grown, according to Avtostat, by 10% of their total number - from 10.5 to 20.5%. During the same period, only the Japanese strengthened their sales networks - from 16.6% to 22.1%. In other segments the dynamics is negative. In other words, it remains to improve the quality of service in showrooms and service centers. Delivered to factories Localization of production has become a big reserve for growth in the segment of Chinese cars. This primarily concerns, of course, Haval with its plant in the Tula region. The company has consistently brought the production line to four models and is ready to expand it further. Moreover, in accordance with a special investment contract concluded with the government of the Russian Federation (by the way, the first SPIK for Chinese companies - and this in itself is a recognition), the representative office also began to build a motor plant. It is significant that its capacity corresponds to the capacity of auto production - 80 thousand units per year. That is, the company seriously intends, sooner or later, to reach these initially seemed inconceivable volumes. “Building a local engine plant, on the one hand, demonstrates our commitment to the Russian market and helps the company to benefit from the SPIC program. On the other hand, our engineers will be able to receive first-hand feedback, which will allow the company to better understand and respond faster to customer requests. "- said in an interview with" RG "the executive director of the Haval representative office Jerome Sego. However, the Chinesethe company has already faced some difficulties in Russia. At the end of the year, the production of cars clearly did not keep up with the demand, and people have to wait several months for individual configurations of popular models. The problem is not only in the logistics complicated by the coronavirus, but also in the personnel shortage. The remoteness of the Haval plant from megacities and even Tula affects the choice of personnel. At the same time, the need for staff expansion will only grow. Several more Chinese companies have factories in the territory of the Customs Union. JAC has a production base located in Kazakhstan's Kostanay, Changan assembles some models at the Unison plant in the suburbs of Minsk, and Geely has long and seriously settled in the Borisov district of the Minsk region. However, due to the growing demand for cars, obvious difficulties are brewing for the latter. The enterprise is designed to produce only three models at a time. And with the expansion of the Geely line in Belarus and Russia, it becomes more and more difficult to choose vehicles for the conveyor. And it's not for nothing that the company imports part of its products to the Russian Federation directly from the PRC. However, while there is no information that Geely plans to acquire or build a plant in Russia. We add that in 2020 Chery also partially diluted imports from the Middle Kingdom with cars assembled at the Kaliningrad Avtotor. And there was also information about Dongfeng's interest in the same "Unison" and far-reaching plans to localize the production of GAC Motor. Perhaps the example of Haval and Geely in this sense has become contagious for many Chinese brands. Updated lines Well, as for the quality of Chinese cars and, as a consequence, the growth of their liquidity, work is in full swing here too. In 2020, almost all leading brands seriously updated their model lines and set a new trend: now they bring to us from the Middle Kingdom not only and not so much affordable cars, but the freshest and well-equipped ones. The leader in this regard is Chery. Several times the company begins to certify a particular model in Russia even before it entered the Chinese market. As a result, the difference between the debuts in the PRC and the Russian Federation is reduced to a minimum. This was the case, for example, with the new trim levels Chery Tiggo 4 and Tiggo 7 Pro. This is now the case with the restyled Tiggo 4 Pro and 8 Pro, which will appear in 2021. In addition, Chery was the first to take the risk of introducing a premium sub-brand to our market. CheryExeed TXL crossovers for 2.4 million rubles are still sold in the same car dealerships through a partition from "regular" models. But judging by the plans to expand the line, very soon it will come to the opening of mono-brand showrooms. And it is clear that the experience of colleagues is now closely monitored in the same Great Wall, ready to start selling the premium Wey brand at any time. Geely also took a certain risk, requesting 2.5 million rubles for the new Tugella coupe-crossover. This is generally a kind of challenge to the market - to leave the car with a coupe-like body uncontested 238-horsepower engine (and not "choke" it to a tax-intensive figure) and four-wheel drive. Roughly speaking, the company initially agreed that the car would not become a bestseller, but would give a clear idea of what a modern Geely could be. Well, let the slightly more modest Coolray and Atlas be responsible for the sales growth. Even earlier, the prices were surprised at GAC Motor - the company put up its minivan for 3.5 million rubles. Well, why not, if it is a budget competitor to Toyota Alphard, which has collected almost all the best that the Chinese brand is capable of. By the way, next year this trend will develop. Moreover, it will affect other brands as well. So, Changan plans to bring a large and ultra-modern crossover Uni-K to Russia, JAC will greatly raise the bar with the withdrawal of the S7 model, and FAW with the T77. These are machines of a completely different level - both in design, equipment, and price.