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In Russia, Car Owners Heading to German and Japanese Dealerships

2 minute read | March 2012

When it comes to cars, Mercedes, Toyota and BMW are on the minds of Russian drivers. Those three brands led the pack in terms of brand recognition in a recent Nielsen survey of Russian car owners. The study, which rated Russia’s most popular car manufacturers, also sought to identify the extent to which a manufacturer’s country of origin influences brand loyalty.

Those top three brands scored 64, 63 and 61 percent in terms of unprompted brand mention, beating Russian car maker LADA (57%) and Nissan (51%), which rounded out the top. LADA, however, crossed the finish line ahead of the pack in the “first-mentioned” category, meaning that even though other brands might be more recognizable, LADA is first off the tongue of many Russians when asked to list off car brands. LADA was mentioned first 17 percent of the time – more than Toyota, Mercedes and BMW (9%, 8% and 7% respectively).

4715 Russian automobile penetration chart - wire 1

4715 Russian automobile penetration chart - wire 2

When it comes to country of origin, Japan leads the pack in terms of brand loyalty, as 88 percent of people who own Japanese-made cars intend to stick with a Japanese model for their next purchase. LADA and other Russian manufacturers did not fare as well, as only one-third of Russian-made car owners intend to stick with a domestic brand for their next purchase. For alternatives, many are looking to Germany and Korea, but Japanese brands remain the most desired for Russian car owners.

Reliability and quality top the list in terms of what to look for in a car (66%), with price (58%) and fuel efficiency (51%) hot on the trail. Environmental friendliness, often thought of as being synonymous with fuel economy, is uniquely less important; only 6 percent of Russians take the environment into account when choosing a new car.

While safety as a whole is somewhat less important – only 43 percent of Russian car owners consider it one of the main benchmarks to consider when purchasing – certain safety features cannot be sacrificed. Steering boosters and airbags are musts for most Russian car owners, as 73 percent and 70 percent of Russians respectively said they would not buy a car without those features.

About the Survey

This online survey among car owners was conducted by Nielsen in the third quarter of 2011 to identify changes in the behavior of car owners in Russia. Over 1,100 car owners were polled. The sample had quotas based on sex, age, city of residents and respondents’ car class.

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