Russian engine oil market to grow along with buoyant luxury and used market.

Russian-made car owners lag behind foreign brands in higher performance lubes sector and used car sales.

According to the latest research from Moscow-based analysts, Autostat, Russia's motor oil sector is on an upward curve.  Talking to Lube Report's Boris Kamchev, Autostat's Head of Projects - Victor Pushkarev - highlighted their prediction of continued growth in 2018 and 2019 of 2.3% and 3.5%, having already recorded a 4.3% annual rise in motor oil consumption in 2016.

Russian traffic

A crowded Russian car market? Image: Commons

Of the 41.5m Russian passenger car parc, almost all run gasoline engines, while just one third of the country's light commercial vehicles are diesel according to the Russian-language-only report entitled: "The Russian Motor Oil Market for Passenger Cars and LCVs".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, higher performance semi or fully synthetic lubricants were dominant across foreign-brand passenger cars (at around 90% while just 50% of Russian-brand vehicle owners used these oils according to Pushkarev.

Lubricants exports also outweighed imports, according to Lube Report's coverage, with 192m litres leaving the country in 2016 from the likes of Gazprom Neft and Lukoil, while imports from BP, Total and ExxonMobil amongst others accounted for the 110m litres of overseas product entering Russia.

Lubes marketers are likely to be working hard to sell their products to a booming used vehicle market. According to Autostat figures second hand car sales increased by 6% in 2016, equating to a little more than five million vehicles being traded.

Russian-made Lada topped the list of favourite used car buys, with the 2114 model proving most popular followed by the 2107.  Although Toyota and Nissan were the biggest selling overseas brands, Ford's Focus was the highest-selling individual non-Russian model.

The Russian market also appears attractive for foreign OEMs looking to boost new vehicle sales, with Daimler announcing plans to invest €250m ($260m) in a new plant North West of Moscow.

Aiming to strengthen Daimler-Benz's grip on the luxury market, the plant will have the capacity to produce 20,000 Mercedes SUVs and E-class saloons when it opens in 2019.