Bloomberg — Chinese carmakers exported more vehicles wholesale to Russia than anywhere else in the first five months of this year, filling a void left by global manufacturers exiting the market because of the invasion of Ukraine.
China exported about 287,000 finished vehicles to Russia from January to May, almost twice as many as the next highest and last year’s top destination, Mexico, which received 159,000, according to customs data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on Tuesday.
China exported about 162,000 vehicles to Russia in all of 2022.
State-owned Chery Automobile Co., Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and Great Wall Motor Co. are the top three Chinese brands in Russia, accounting for a third of new car sales in the first half of this year, according to statistics from the Association of European Businesses. Popular models include sport utility vehicles such as Chery’s Tiggo 7 Pro, Geely’s Coolray and Great Wall’s Haval series, the group’s data show.
Ukraine has placed Geely and Great Wall on a “sponsors of war” list of more than two dozen companies continuing to do business in Russia, a primarily name-and-shame exercise with no legal power.
Major international automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG, along with companies from Apple Inc. to McDonald’s Corp., pulled out of Russia as economic sanctions were introduced following the invasion that started in February last year. Some faced consumer boycotts after taking longer to leave, including Renault SA and Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., owner of Uniqlo.
Many Chinese brands have stakes and partnerships with international automakers. For example, Geely and its founder, Li Shufu, control Swedish companies including Volvo Car AB and Polestar Automotive Holding UK Plc. Its electric-vehicle marque Zeekr is also collaborating with Google’s self-driving firm Waymo LLC and making a push into Europe and the Middle East.
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