By Linda Spencer
The Russia Business Development Tour is for those companies interested in developing brand recognition, product loyalty and working toward mid- and longer-term goals.
March 16 is the last day to register for the 2015 SEMA Russia Business Development Tour, to be held in Moscow, May 17–20, 2015. SEMA is organizing a small delegation to meet with buyers from throughout Russia. The trip is for those companies interested in developing brand recognition, product loyalty and working toward mid- and longer-term goals.
Immediate business gains are more difficult given the current Russian economic downturn and the strong dollar (vis-à-vis the ruble). Consider whether now is the right time for you to meet with key buyers and begin your entry or expansion into this market, which includes a large number of U.S.-made vehicles, and at some point in the next five years is expected to become Europe’s largest passenger-vehicle market.
Interesting facts about the Russian automotive market:
- About 48,000 U.S.-made vehicles were imported into Russia in 2013, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report. In addition to U.S.-made vehicles exported to Russia, Ford’s 50–50 joint venture in 2013 produced the millionth Russian-built Ford-badged vehicle. In addition, Russia is GM’s fifth-largest market for its Chevrolet brand. GM sold 174,649 vehicles in Russia overall. Popularly customized vehicles, such as the Jeep Wrangler, are now officially sold in Russia.
- Russia is the world’s sixth-largest automotive market in terms of annual passenger-vehicle sales and is the second largest in Europe after Germany. Before the economic and political crisis hit, industry experts predicted that Russia would soon become the No. 1 market. Though still expected, the date for this change in positions has been delayed by several years at least as car sales are down sharply amid the uncertainty and fiscal crisis.
- Last year’s event attracted buyers from throughout Russia. Many of these buyers traveled to the 2014 SEMA Show and participated in the U.S.–Russia roundtable.
Events schedule (tentative):
Sunday, May 17
United States government briefing and networking dinner with a select group of buyers.
Monday, May 18
Visit specialty-equipment shops.
Tuesday, May 19
Roundtable discussion with buyers and a chance for private one-on-one meetings with pre-vetted buyers.
Wednesday, May 20
Depart for the United States.