Before we start going through the price lists and studying the charts, let’s briefly recall the movements of exchange rates. Our starting 2013 was the last full year of the “dollar at 30”: already at the end of the following year, 2014, the exchange rate began to rise and reached its first peak of 60 rubles in early 2015. After the next jump by 2016, the indicator stabilized at 62-64 rubles and remained so in 2019, when we compiled another snapshot of the statistics. Now, by the beginning of 2021, the dollar has risen by about 10 rubles and fluctuates at 73-75 rubles per unit. Taking into account the short-term increase to 80 rubles at the end of 2020 and the rather vague outlook, the increase in car prices looks expected even in isolation from other realities like the amount of duties and the recycling fee. Let’s take a look at how the price lists have changed since 2019 and what they were like “in the past life”. As before, for clarity, we’ll do a breakdown of cars by class, to more accurately track the dynamics for different price categories.
It is worth noting that the most obvious and correct would be to compare the prices of models that have not changed generations in the meantime. But, as it is not difficult to guess, taking into account a “delta” of 8 years, it is impossible to count on it. However, there are piece examples of such longevity, and the first of them is the Lada Granta, which has not changed a generation during this time, but only underwent a restyling in 2018. Recall that prices for the entire Lada lineup have risen six times in 2020 alone, and now the cheapest Granta sedan costs exactly half a million. In 2013, the price of the base version was 279 thousand, so by 2019 it has risen by 59%, and by now it has risen by 79%. And if we remember that at the time of release in 2011 the Granta, presented as a replacement for the old “Seven”, cost 229 thousand, we can say that the model has already passed the stage of two-fold increase in price. Well, since 2019 it has increased in price by 12%, although in terms of money it is solid for the ultra-budget class 55 thousand rubles. The maximum price tag on the Granta has grown a little less dramatically: in 2019, the model went up in price almost one and a half times to 635,000, and now the richly equipped sedan with an automatic costs 693,000 – that is, 61% more expensive than eight years ago.
Staying in the budget class, let’s remember the oldest of Avtovaz’s conveyor models: the Niva just the other day got its name back, but it hasn’t changed much since our start in 2013. True, back then it cost from 354 thousand rubles, but now prices start from the 600 thousand mark. Thus, the increase is almost 70%. It is not even justified by the fact that in 2013 the SUV had no air conditioner and heated seats and mirrors: the car for 600 thousand also does not have them. And for three-door in Luxe version, where they will be, you will have to pay 656 thousand already. We shall mention separately that to be objective, we do not take into account the Urban version, which costs 676 thousand. Over the last year, the Niva has become more expensive by 15% or 76 thousand rubles.
Let’s move on from domestic cars to foreign cars, albeit localized ones. One of the bestsellers of both 2013 and 2020 is the Hyundai Solaris. Note that it changed generations in 2017, but prices during the transition period were almost unchanged – that is, the update itself did not bring a significant increase in price. But the years – have brought: if in 2013 the sedan cost from 459 thousand, now – from 805 thousand. Thus, the increase in price amounted to a good 75 %. Relative to 2019 Solaris has become more expensive by 8%, or 59 thousand rubles. Also, the Korean budget maker stays true to itself: the air conditioner in the basic complete set has not appeared. It is added only in the following version for 886 thousand – together with heating, an audio system and other options. Well, in a top version the model has risen in price from 689 thousand to 1,1 million roubles, that is by 60%. The psychological barrier of a million was passed just in 2019, when the most expensive Solaris without taking into account additional options already cost 1,011 million. Well, since then the units have neatly swapped places, and 1,011,000 has turned into 1,101,000, adding 9% to the price tag.
No less interesting example is the Renault Logan. Here, too, we can make allowance for the change of generations, which for the “Frenchman” was a much more tangible step up than for the Solaris. But the prices have changed quite substantially: if in 2013 the old Logan cost from 349 thousand rubles, in 2016 it went up to 409 thousand, and in 2019 a new generation already started from 577 thousand. Now the sedan is priced at least 683,000 rubles – that is, even in the last year it has gone up in price by 106,000 or 18%! Against this background growth of the price almost twice since 2013 is already perceived as something logical, especially taking into account all the same change of generations. Well and maximum price tags, as usual, have added a little less: +78% compared with 2013 and only +6% for 2019.
Last year, to complete the picture, we took another representative of the budget segment, which has not changed generations since 2013 – it was Volkswagen Polo. However, even it received a successor in 2020, even though technical changes were not so many: the platform remained the same, and globally the car actually became a restyling of the Rapid liftback. But the main question for us is whether the change of generations can justify the price increase of the car exactly by one third, because in 2019 the sedan Polo cost from 680 thousand rubles, and the current Polo liftback starts from 908 thousand! About 2013 is out of the question: today’s car is not the same simpleton that cost half as much, from 450 thousand rubles. And the twofold increase in price is true for the minimal and maximal kitting: 1,3 million against 641 thousand roubles.
Ironically, of the three models we picked as references in 2016, only one made it to 2021. Ford left Russia, and in 2019, we looked at prices for stock Focus leftovers. And the Volkswagen Golf has taken a real swing: it has left and returned to our market, and is now in another “gone, but still coming back” phase. The seventh generation is gone from our market, and the recently appeared eighth generation should come this year – at least the plans for the withdrawal have already been announced, and the official website has a page of the model. So if the Golf comes out at least no later than the second quarter, we’ll have an excuse to update the material. Well now let’s look at the only model which has to represent all C-class – Skoda Octavia.
The picture for her, it should be said, is also quite bleak. We talked about the fact that before for a million you could buy a “maxima”, and now only “base”, back in 2019, and now, with the change of generations, Octavia has become even more expensive. The price list starts with the amount of 1.4 million rubles – that is, since 2013, the liftback has risen almost 2.5 times (139% to be exact). And in relation to 2019, the increase by a quarter looks very solid. As for the maxi-series configurations, the increase in price is less shocking: “only” 78% from 2013 and 11% from 2019. However, when referring to 2019 it is worth considering another circumstance: the factory in Nizhny Novgorod, where they assemble localized Octavia, has only started producing cars with 1.4 TSI engine. Later this year it will be joined by 1.6 MPI and 2.0 TSI engines, which should affect the price lists accordingly.
We did not go wrong with what, but with the choice of a representative of the business class in 2016: the Toyota Camry remains an unshakable pillar of this segment. Having seen off the Nissan Teana and Ford Mondeo from Russia and smugly looking towards the Mazda 6, the Camry was left to face the Koreans and the Volkwagen Passat. True, even localization has not become a salvation from a tangible increase in prices. In 2013 the base sedan cost 969 thousand rubles, and today for a car of the new generation are asked at least 1.78 million rubles – that is, the increase in price was 810 thousand or 84%. Of course, it’s not 2.5 times as much as for the same Octavia, but it’s also quite tangible. At the same time, the maximum price tag has grown even stronger – by 87%, up to 2.77 million. However, if we compare these prices with 2019 within the same generation, the increase in the minimum and maximum configurations will be “only” 13% and 11%, respectively.
We continue to follow the impoverishment of the Russian market in parallel with rising prices: of the two crossovers that we covered in 2019, there is one left. Ford Kuga has left us along with its compatriots, so we are left to look at the price dynamics of one of the leaders of the segment – Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s worth saying here that the Tiguan, which moved to the MQB platform in 2016, has become somewhat more solid with a generational change. This, however, does not prevent us from remembering that in 2013 it could be bought for 900 thousand rubles. Now the basic version with front-wheel drive and a 1.4-liter engine costs 1.75 million rubles – that is almost twice as expensive (by 94%, to be specific). For a maximum configuration the growth has turned out more than twice as much: 2,93 million vs. 1,33 million, or +120 %. Of course, here the direct comparison is even more incorrect at least because of the difference in engines, not counting the list of equipment. But the Tiguan added as much as 17% in base and 13% in top.
Large crossovers and SUVs
Where the Granta goes up by 50 thousand, the Land Cruiser will gain half a million. But they have something in common: the Land Cruiser is the third participant of our review after Granta and Niva, which since 2013 has not changed its generation, and among foreign cars it is the only one. The Japanese are steadily stamping special versions and receive a stable profit. Although we haven’t seen updates for a long time: since 2019, TRD and Executive Lounge versions are still at the top of the price list. The base version has risen by almost 2 million in eight years – from 3.25 to 5.24 million rubles. True, in percentage expression it is “only” 61 % – much lower, than many other participants of our material. But the top version showed almost double growth, caused by the effect of low base: in 2013 Land Cruiser didn’t have such expensive special versions, and the maximum configuration was more expensive than the starting one only by 150 thousand rubles. But the comparison with 2019 is absolutely fair and clear, because here even the special versions remained the same. So we can absolutely objectively say that the SUV rose in price by 7% in the starting version and by 8% in the maximum configuration.
For clarity, let’s consider not only the “long-lived”, but also a typical representative of the class of large crossovers – the Volkswagen Touareg, which underwent a change of generations in 2018. “Pre-reform” car in 2013 was available from 2 million rubles. Today, the cost of the third-generation car starts at 4 million – that is, during this time, Volkswagen has become not only noticeably more technologically advanced, but also twice as expensive. The maximum configuration doesn’t catch up with the “base” in percentage terms: 3 million versus 5.4 million gives an increase of 76%. If we track the dynamics more objectively, within a generation, the Touareg has gained 15% and 6% in the entry-level and maximum packages, respectively, since 2019.
Strangely enough, even in the premium segment there are models which have not lived up to our days. In particular, from the heroes of our previous review is the BMW “one”, which had limited sales before, and recently it has changed from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive and ceased to be interesting as an entrance ticket to the world of real BMWs at all. Instead, it was brought to us with the co-presenter of the 2 Series sedan. And the honor of compact premium has remained to protect Mercedes-Benz A-class. However, it does not show the dynamics of prices for the last couple of years. The fact is that the lineup of options and engines has been cut, so now we are left with only one “average” version for 2.56 million rubles and the AMG version for 3.7 million. For example, even in 2019, the price fork was from 1.79 to 2.63 million. Back in 2013, prices ranged from 875,000 to 1.17 million rubles – that is, the “base” was three times cheaper than today.
But A-class has very limited popularity in our country, so for more objective understanding of the situation in premium it is better to look at crossovers. For example, the Mercedes-Benz GLS in the years when it was still a “regular” GL, cost in Russia from 3.47 to 5.2 million rubles. In 2019, it changed generation and got the price from 6.9 to 8.8 million rubles. Well, today, another year after its debut, prices only start at 9 million. And if an increase of 2.5 times by 2013 for an imported model in general is not so surprising, then +30% to the price for the last year is something more noticeable. By the way, in the calculation of the maximum cost we left out the AMG version for 14 million and the Maybach version for 15,5 million.
Well, in conclusion, let’s look at one of the most distinctive models on our market, which is weakly tied to anything logical: the Mercedes-Benz G-class. Strangely enough, since 2013, even it managed to change generations, so we will add a little logic to the numbers: the price of the new model includes the cost of its engineering rethinking. In 2013, the SUV was asking anywhere from 4.15 million for the diesel version to 5.3 million for the G 500, and that was a lot. In 2019, after a generational change, only the G 500 managed to enter our market, and it already cost 9.5 million. Well, today, buyers can again choose between gasoline and diesel – but they already cost 11.5 and 15 million, respectively. And that’s not counting the AMG version that costs 19,5 million. The increase in price, if someone is interested, concerning 2013 has made +177 % for the diesel version and +184 % for the petrol one. And over the last year, the G 500 has become 58% more expensive.
Traditionally, we will not make any global conclusions in this review article: the reasons for price growth are largely clear, and the dynamics depends on specific conditions such as localization, generational change, import duties, etc. And given that the next increase in the recycling fee is on the horizon, we will return to the subject of price increases in a year. Then we will see how the price lists will be affected by currency exchange rates and innovations in Russian law.