Dreams of a car in this mortal world or the impact of the pandemic on car sales
Ruslan Musayev, AADA Marketing Director
Another year has passed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. As in all areas, the pandemic has affected the automotive industry. Interruptions in the operation of factories and the shortage of semiconductors were among the factors affecting car production. Strange as it may sound, car manufacturers of the luxury segment have announced that they have finished 2021 with high sales results.
For example, the head of Rolls-Royce, Torsten Muller-Otvos, said that the pandemic itself was the reason why the famous British brand, led by him, ended 2021 with a record. In other words, the coronavirus showed people that life is quite short and encouraged them to live life to the fullest - not to delay the purchase of the car of their dreams.
I must say that a similar result can be observed in Azerbaijan, but we are talking not only about the luxury segment, but also about the trends in the car market in general. Let's start with the official dаta: The State Customs Committee said that in 2021, the country imported 91,194 vehicles of various purposes worth $935.2 million. Of these, 85,151 are passenger cars.
Undoubtedly, this number includes new and old cars, as well as cars put on the market by official and unofficial importers. The marketing department of the Azerbaijan Automobile Dealers Association (AADA), which unites official dealers and distributors of about 40 car brands, has completed its traditional report on the results of 2021. It should be noted that the main purpose of this document is to provide information support to the members of the association, to provide them with the figures needed for use in future business plans. Most of this report is sent to AADA members as an internal document, but some of it, which is not a trade secret, is published in the media because it is of interest to a wide audience of car enthusiasts.
Thus, according to the report, in 2021, AADA members imported 10,700 cars, which initially indicates that official dealers have about 14% of the total market share. Secondly, if we compare this figure with the results of 2020 (6805), we see an increase of 36.4 percent. Rolls-Royce buyers may be eager to achieve their dreams in a "five-day" virus-ridden world, but rising sales in the public transport sector suggest that periodic restrictions on public transport during the pandemic, as well as the high risk of infection on the subway and bus, increased interest in individual vehicles.
Even people who didn't think about buying a car of their own a few years ago are now considering it. Here are some more interesting figures from the report: last year, 732 cars of premium brands and 9,418 cars of mass brands were sold in our country. The annual sales of commercial transport was 550 units.
The leader among mass vehicles belongs to segment B (average price 17.2 - 29.9 thousand AZN) - sales of cars from this segment account for 20% of the total (1856 units). The leader of this segment is the Kia Rio model. It is followed by Lada Granta and Skoda Rapid. The second place is taken by cars from the B-SUV segment (17.3 - 49.9 thousand AZN) - 19 percent (1763). Lada Niva is a leader in this segment. The second and third places are occupied by Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, respectively.
In third place are cars belonging to C segment (26.8 - 41.9 AZN) - their share in total sales is 17 percent (1563). The leaders of this segment are Hyundai Accent, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. The top five is completed by the D-SUV segment with 15 percent (1405) and pickups with 8 percent (731). The undisputed leader among D-SUVs is the Toyota RAV4. It is followed by Kia Sorento and Hyundai SantaFe. The trio in the pickup segment is as follows: Mitsubishi L200, Toyota HiLux and JAC T8.
The situation is completely different in the premium segment. The order is as follows: F-SUVs are in first place (231 units, 32%), E-SUVs are in second place with 24% results (175), and F-segment cars are in third place with 19% (136) results. The fourth and fifth places are occupied by D-SUVs with 14% (105) results and cars from the E segment with 9% (67), respectively.
The leader of the F-SUV segment is the Mercedes-Benz GLS model. In second place is the Range Rover, and in third place is the legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The leader in the E-SUV segment is the Lexus RX. It is followed by two Mercedes-Benz models GLE and GLE Coupe crossovers. The undisputed leader of the F segment is the flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan.
Interestingly, there is an increase in the segment of commercial vehicles. Thus, if in 2020, 489 such vehicles were sold, in 2021 this figure was 550 units. 70% (386 units) of commercial vehicles were passenger vehicles and 30% (164) were trucks. The top three in this segment are represented by FIAT, Hyundai and BAIC.
Undoubtedly, the main question for readers is which brand is the leader in terms of overall sales. As in recent years, the Toyota brand leads the tournament table - the Japanese brand has 22% of the new car market. In second place is the brand Lada, which dominates 17% of the market. With a rate of 15%, the Hyundai brand managed to enter the top three. In fourth place is the brand Kia with 13%, and in fifth place is the brand Mitsubishi with 5%. The leadership in the premium segment belongs to the Mercedes-Benz brand. Followers of the German brand are Lexus and Range Rover. The most interesting thing is that in 2021 there was no growth in the premium segment - sales of official dealers are stable.
Let's move on to one of the main issues - "green" cars. In 2021, most buyers will prefer cars equipped with purely internal combustion engines. It is known that cars equipped with gasoline engines have a great advantage. However, the recent trend - sales of hybrid cars - has also increased significantly, and the leadership in this area belongs to the brand Toyota. Dealers of the Japanese brand offer buyers Corolla, Camry and RAV4 models equipped with a hybrid powertrain. The first place among hybrids belongs to the RAV4 crossover - 65% of buyers have chosen a crossover equipped with a hybrid engine. The Camry and Corolla, which have a hybrid engine, have also found their respective audience.
As for electric cars, in 2021, only Jaguar's official dealers offered the E-Pace electric car, and it is the second most popular electric car of the British brand after the F-Pace crossover! Undoubtedly, sales in the "green" segment are expected to increase in 2022. We hope that the changes in the customs legislation will promote the sale of new environmentally friendly cars.
Lastly, I’d like to remind you that this study of the Association of Auto Dealers covers only the sales results of 2021 of official importers. What happened in the used car market is a completely separate matter.