In July, the Vladivostok customs reported that over seven months, more than 78,000 cars were imported into Russia from Japan, exports increased by a third. The peak was in July, when more than 15,000 cars were imported. About 600 cars pass through the customs post daily. Sakhalin customs also registers increased demand: since the beginning of the year, imports have increased by 43%, but in physical terms (2060 foreign cars) this is much less than passes through Vladivostok. In August, the statistics will be even more impressive.
What is happening in the port of Vladivostok, Dmitry Zabora, head of the Vladivostok company Carwin, told Novye Izvestia in a blitz interview .
- Who mainly acts as a buyer: individuals or intermediary companies?
-98% of buyers are individuals. People themselves buy through an auction or turn to a company that helps them do it.
-What cars are in special demand among Russians?
-If you asked in January, I would give a list of the TOP 5 most popular cars. Now everything is imported. All brands, all price ranges, all colors and varieties. They just buy everything. Someone embodies their childhood dreams - I want a race from Japan. But basically, of course, the greatest demand for family cars and hybrids. I think they account for about 70% of the demand. The exchange rate is low and much has become available from what was previously impossible to buy.
-On average, what is the difference in price already taking into account customs clearance, which, according to experts, accounts for 48% of the price of a car.
-It is impossible to compare, because the model range from Japan does not match the model range of Russian dealers. They, that is, the officials, simply do not have such machines. For example, you will not find the same family minivans in Russia. A complete match is difficult to feel, but if we take, for example, Toyota Prado, then from Japan it will cost the buyer roughly 3 million rubles, plus or minus 200 thousand. In the secondary car market in Russia - plus about 1-1.5 million rubles, that is, at least - 4 million rubles.
As for the costs of customs clearance, it is impossible to deduce such a figure with Japanese foreign cars. The older the car, the cheaper it is in Japan.
- From which regions of Russia do you receive the most orders?
-All regions buy. And the Far East is far from being a leader. The Amur region buys a lot, Siberia. We constantly ship to the Krasnodar Territory. Huge deliveries to Moscow and St. Petersburg. All of Russia is covered.
-What is happening in the port now?
- Port is hyper loaded. Everywhere you look, there are cars without license plates everywhere. Or containers with cars. Or both. A pile of coal in the corner and next to a parking lot. The berths, which used to be more or less free, are already occupied. And even in the city, all parking lots are crowded, we can’t park our personal ones. Free places can be found only in the suburbs.
-How many cars per month pass only, for example, through you?
-It was our company that artificially limited the acceptance of applications to 200 cars per month. It is already very difficult to serve more. If we release the restrictions, then I think we can easily go beyond 500 orders. We open the volume of applications once a month and literally for an hour or two. We receive our 100-150 lots and continue to work.
-How long does it take for customers to complete the entire cycle of purchase, delivery, customs clearance?
-Now - it's about two months from the date of purchase. Deadlines are just overwhelming. It used to take about three weeks. Now we warn you that you will have to wait a couple of months, sometimes even longer. Just a lot of cars and few flights from Japan. Everything depends on the logistics of export from Japan. The number of ships and places is limited.
According to my calculations, there are now 2.5 times more cars already bought in Japan than they can be brought in a month. I calculated that you can bring about 20,000 cars a month. This is the maximum that can be delivered from Japan. In June, according to official statistics, 18,000 vehicles passed customs. There are no data yet for July. And cars are already bought three times more. Right now, I think, about 40-50 thousand sold foreign cars have accumulated there.
By the way, in Japan there are also problems with delivery and storage. Either flights are canceled, or the ship is in the road for a week, because it simply cannot approach the pier and unload. There is nowhere to park cars. We have to wait until the party is taken out of the port territory. I don't remember that. There has never been such a thing.
-How does the client pick up the car from Vladivostok?
-There are only two options: either self-propelled or arrange delivery. Many people fly to Vladivostok themselves and then drive a car home across the country. If they don’t come, then we put it on a car transporter, and, frankly, this is also a problem. You can also send a railway container to Moscow.
-People are not embarrassed that the cars are right-hand drive, the ban on which the authorities periodically say?
-99% are right hand drive. There are also left-hand drive cars, but these are mostly premium cars. They are not in great demand. Right-hand drive - no, it does not bother anyone. And in the last few years, there has been silence about a possible ban on such machines. Not now and not at this time to ban something.
-Does the client himself become a participant in the auction or delegate it to you more often?
- We are only intermediaries. The client himself chooses, we have access to auctions. Comes, looks, chooses, presses a button and participates in the auction. It is an interactive system with great human involvement. In Japan, we pay for the car.
There are also Korean cars. And they are also not few. This is already such, you know, work on the verge of wear and tear. I even sometimes wish that this abnormal volume would end.
How long do you think this boom will last? The market is overheating.
- Already overheated. In Japan prices are already hyper high. The same Prado of some 2018 with mileage now costs more than it cost a new one. Rates at the auction are raised mainly due to the Russians. The excitement and demand is abnormal, prices artificially rise. But so far everything is going well.
Gray import rules
In recent years, more than 1.6 million cars have been sold annually in Russia. Due to sanctions and the departure of European brands, a drop in sales, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is expected to be at the level of 50%. The agency believes that by the end of 2022, sales could reach about 750,000 vehicles.
Cars under the gray import scheme are imported to Russia not only through the Far East. In Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities, intermediary firms began to appear, which at auctions are ready to buy and bring cars to Russia from the USA, the United Arab Emirates, China, Korea and even from Europe.
According to market participants themselves, each of these firms now sells 100 or more cars a month. Such volumes are more typical for Moscow. In the Northern capital, according to a similar scheme, three times less is sold.
Lawyer, human rights activist, vice-chairman of the Movement of Motorists of Russia Leonid Olshansky previously listed the risks of buyers to Novye Izvestia: “Under such a scheme, the buyer, giving money, must rely, in fact, only on the seller’s word of honor. What if they didn't bring it? And if they brought, but not that? I foresee a large number of ships in this direction. Be sure to sign the contract, read it carefully.
Recall that in April, Japan announced a package of sanctions aimed at limiting exports from Japan to Russia. In particular, the sanctions also affected the car market. New and used cars cannot be delivered to Russia if their price exceeds 6 million yen, which is comparable to about 50 thousand dollars at the current exchange rate.