Posted 1 декабря 2022, 11:28

Published 1 декабря 2022, 11:28

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

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With hope for a miracle: AvtoVAZ and Moskvich announced plans for the next year

1 декабря 2022, 11:28
Фото: 1mi
The Russian car market, or rather what is left of it, sums up the difficult 2022. The number of manufacturers in the country fell significantly, the number of cars sold decreased by 60%. What will happen next - read in the material of "Novye Izvestia".

Alexander Dybin

According to the Association of Russian Automobile Manufacturers, about 593,400 passenger cars will be sold in 2022. For comparison, 1,483,400 cars were sold last year. Similar decline figures are noted in the field of production. The situation with light commercial vehicles is slightly better, there is a 35% drop compared to last year, and in the cargo segment - 30%. Relatively favorable situation with sales of buses, which fell by 15.3%.

Even more revealing is the situation with automakers. At the beginning of 2022, 95 car manufacturers were operating in Russia. Including 18 had production facilities in the country. Now we have only seven manufacturers, and three of them are Chinese companies. The same fall - at times - in other segments of the automotive industry. About whether the industry has found the bottom and what will happen next year, the heads of Russian auto companies discussed at the Russian Industrialist forum.

AvtoVAZ asks for money and does not want to share

The main Russian automaker, unexpectedly for himself, this year became the market leader in terms of production volume. Every third car produced in Russia is now a Lada. The plant stood idle for several months, and in order to restart production, many systems that are equipped with cars had to be abandoned. According to VAZ CEO Maxim Sokolov, now cars with air conditioners, head units, airbags and the Era-GLONAS system are leaving the assembly line again. In the near future, Ladam plans to return ABS, ESP and other electronic security systems.

“We plan to produce about 220,000 cars this year”, - Sokolov said, “this seemed an unrealistic figure six months ago. When Renault left AvtoVAZ, they assumed that the downtime would take at least 11 months. Now we are faced with the task of staying within the cost. It is clear that by the end of the year it will grow: there is a crisis of electronic components, the refusal of component manufacturers to cooperate. But for now, we keep cost growth below inflation”.

According to Sokolov, plans for 2023 include a return to a full-fledged and complete model range. Since March, they plan to start producing Vesta, and a new generation. In addition, the Largus should return to sale, and not only with an internal combustion engine, but also with an electric motor. Sokolov notes that this will be the only truly domestic electric car. The Evolut that has already entered the market is, in fact, a converted Chinese Dongfeng Aeolus E70, and the announced electric Moskvich is a Chinese JAC. In general, according to the general director of AvtoVAZ, only those manufacturers who are engaged in deep localization of cars should receive maximum assistance from the state, so that money is not spent on those who simply glue their nameplates on Chinese cars.

“We propose to urgently fix this principle in the regulatory framework”, - Maxim Sokolov said, “and there should not be any advances for the future. We understand how this will end: in 2-3 years we will be told that the situation has changed, people are working, we need to support. We've been through this multiple times".

As support measures that Sokolov does not want to share with colleagues, government purchases of cars for departments, purchases in taxi companies and carsharing, subsidies, as well as demand support in the form of preferential programs for buyers are called. In addition, it is worth reconsidering the size of the recycling fee, which has not been raised for a long time, and the price of a car has grown a lot and this fee is not a motivation for localization. Moreover, Sokolov sees such projects as Evolut and Moskvich are now, since they have the most minimal localization, a threat to the auto industry.

“Strategic threats to the automotive industry as a whole remain”, - said AvtoVAZ's general director. As we understand it, this is a screwdriver assembly. It will not only not provide additional value, but will also cause irreparable harm, since the market is limited by solvent demand. Everything that we produce with low localization will be lost to our development as initial capital. AvtoVAZ, as a leader, is not against competition and diversity. But it is important to consider the level of actual localization. The higher it is, the greater the amount of state support should be. This applies not only to car assembly, but also to component manufacturers. These are more than 1,500 enterprises with 500,000 employees”.

At the same time, according to Maxim Sokolov, the state is reducing the amount of assistance to the automotive industry.

“Next year will be no less difficult, and the amount of support is 5 billion, this year it was about 10 billion”, - he said. - We will choose the volume of this program in the first quarter. Without demand support, the market will be quite low. Banks predict the market size for the next year within today's figures.

And Moskvich needs time

Director of the Moscow Automobile Plant "Moskvich" Dmitry Pronin called detailed plans for the restoration of production. According to him, his own model should appear at the capital's plant in 2025. In the meantime, the company will gradually increase the localization of Chinese JAC. Until the end of 2022, Moskvich plans to “produce” 600 cars. It is noted that for the release of each unit, 56 technological operations must be performed. Next year, the level of localization is going to deepen to 2,000 operations per machine. And the number of cars produced should be 50,000 thousand. In 2025, there are already 120 thousand, and 25,000 of them are electric.

In general, Moskvich in the first years intends to focus not on private buyers, but on government orders, taxis and car sharing. So Moskvich plans to eat part of the pie that AvtoVAZ would like to take.

Dealers on the edge

Vyacheslav Zubarev, President of the Russian Automobile Dealers Association, noted that plans to restore the Russian automobile industry would be difficult to implement without the so-called commodity distribution network. Since the beginning of the year, 3,300 dealerships have been operating in the country, employing 300,000 employees. How many of them survived is not yet counted. At the same time, there are no gaps in sight, in all aspects of this business there are continuous threats and risks.

“In 2023, many dealerships will be under the threat of bankruptcy”, - Zubarev said, “not only we, but also the client will suffer. The overall level of service in this market will fall. In addition, dealers work in white, unlike garage services. Almost every dealer is now fighting for survival. We have three sources of income: new car sales, service and used car sales. There are problems everywhere".

According to the expert, the warranty park is decreasing, as fewer new cars are being sold. Customers have to keep longer than the 3-5 years that it is tied to by the guarantee. There are difficulties in the supply of spare parts through parallel imports, but a number of components are not available, as they fell under sanctions.

“We would like to soften some provisions of the law on consumer protection, when it is simply impossible to perform certain works, and the law requires it”, - says Zubarev, “and the law, this provides grounds for various auto lawyers to pump money out of dealers. In the end, it will all fall on the consumer”.

In the area of used car sales, dealers are asking for double taxation of VAT to be abolished so that different companies can sell cars to each other without increasing their price. This will allow dealers in different regions to “swap” cars and meet demand.

But most of the problems are with new cars, which simply do not exist. As Igor Korovkin, executive director of the Association of Russian Automobile Manufacturers, noted in an interview with Novye Izvestia, this year the Russians bought only 600 thousand cars, not because they could not or did not want to, but because there were simply no more cars.

“Indeed, there are simply no more cars, both the number and variety have decreased,” he said, “we now only produce class B and B + cars, and very few SUVs. Classes C and D are not. The owners of these cars are used to changing cars every three years, so for now they drive relatively fresh ones and just wait for an offer. Chinese models are only being looked at. Thus, pent-up demand is formed, the question is who will satisfy it”.

At the same time, Chinese brands that have begun to expand into Russia are not being rescued yet. According to Vyacheslav Zubarev, automobile companies from the Celestial Empire are actively distributing franchises, dealers take loans for building decoration, etc., and then an insufficient number of cars come from China, which destroys the economy of enterprises.

“We are happy with Chinese companies”, - he said, “but there is a situation where the growth of the dealer network is very much ahead of the pace of supplies. This year, the business of the average dealer of the Chinese brand is unprofitable. Supplies are limited, the network is large, income is not enough to feed all the employees. Newly coming brands are lined up with those who want to franchise. The temptation is great, we are like hungry, who sell organs for a piece of bread, not thinking about the consequences. Dealers get franchises, but then they don't get paid. The Ministry of Industry and Trade needs to act as a kind of coordinator for this, to look at the ratio of the dealer network and plans for the supply of cars. The money invested in meeting the brand's standards could be put to better use".

A separate issue is the parallel import of new cars, which, in order to optimize taxes and fees, goes through individuals who import cars according to documents and then sell them at dealerships.

Forgotten word - unification

Another whale on which the auto industry stands is component suppliers. It is they who create the very localization. Hundreds of companies that produced parts and components for factories producing foreign cars in Russia are also going through difficult times now. As Maya Sviridova, head of the management company of the industrial cluster Soyuz Avtoprom North-West, told Novye Izvestia, some companies that supplied components to the St. Petersburg plants of Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai are now idle or are looking for other markets. For example, an enterprise that produced metal structures for cars now produces high-tech stopping complexes.

“The auto industry has always brought us up hard, we never hoped for support, so many of the suppliers have reoriented to other industries and markets in order to retain staff and maintain competencies”, - the expert said, “there are companies in idle time, for example, with foreign participation, but they waiting and retaining staff. We use their competencies and try to attract them as developers of new products and technologies. The auto industry has always been and will always be a low-margin industry, and suppliers, as a rule, only sent 30-40 percent of their products to automakers, the rest to other segments where margins are higher”.

According to the executive director of the Association "Association of Automakers of Russia" Igor Korovkin, the key factor in import substitution in the auto industry should be unification, and in everything: both in parts and in the machines on which they are made and even in the materials from which the components will be produced.

“We produced over forty different platforms of passenger cars, and taking into account imports and cars that are already in the fleet, this is about a hundred platforms,” he says, “it is impossible to organize the production of components for everyone and build a substitution for such a number of platforms. The solution is unification. But so far there is no concept of unification in the development strategy of the automotive industry. Although we already had this in Soviet times and high efficiency was associated with this. Sometimes we scoffed at it when all trucks had the same headlights and one color - green. But we must think about it. For example, "KAMAZ" and "Ural" require steel of different grades, although the machines are of the same type. How can metallurgists reduce costs with low volumes of specific grades?”

Another important point is the unification of companies that produce components that are owned by foreigners or that have been tailored for outdated brands. They, by analogy with Nissan or Renault, who took power under their wing, could also be united into a cluster. According to the expert, there may be up to 70 such plants in Russia, which could save production, jobs and technology.