Courtesy of parallel imports, Chevrolet-branded cars are rolling off sales showroom forecourts in Russia.
Russian state-run daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported on June 26 that seven-seater Chevrolet Damas minivans are now also being brought into the country from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where the vehicles are assembled under license. Other Chevrolet models assembled in Central Asia have been selling strongly in Russia since last year.
A 2023 Chevrolet Damas unequipped with anti-lock braking systems is retailing at the current equivalent of around $11,600.
General Motors, or GM, the Detroit-based automaker under whose license these minivans are produced, pulled out of Russia following the start to the war in Ukraine. UzAuto Motors, the company that assembles the cars in Uzbekistan, subsequently also announced that it would cease sending its products to Russia.
As Uzbek business outlet Spot.uz has reported, Russian Chevrolet dealerships quickly began running short of supplies thereafter. The crisis appears to have been remedied to a considerable extent by a system of parallel imports, wherein Russian companies informally purchase the vehicles in an accommodating foreign market and bring them into the country.
Uzbekistan has been a rich source of new cars for Russian buyers. Media there have since late 2022 reported on the widespread availability of other Chevrolet-branded automobiles, namely, the Spark, Nexia and Cobalt models.
Parallel imports are proving a boon for Uzbekistan’s balance of trade.
Bilateral trade between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, the year the war in Ukraine was started, surged by 23 percent year-on-year, up to $9.3 billion. The volume of Uzbek-labeled products and services to Russia increased 1.5-fold to $3 billion over that period.